Brockley Bites: Green-fingered edition

Brockley's bane: The blue peril

It's a reasonable bet that anyone with any outside space in Brockley has encountered these big, rapidly-growing, blue-flowered plants:






But what are they?


Admittedly BC's gardening knowledge is limited, but we haven't seen these plants in other parts of London. So we throw the question out to green-fingered BC readers - what are they? Weed or rare specialist species? Exclusive to Brockley, or a Gardeners' Question Time regular? And how the hell do we eliminate them from our garden?



Green Brockley: Yay for trees


The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed the new trees outside the postal sorting office on Brockley Road.





BC suspects this has been funded by Lewisham Council's localities fund, after the complex and passionate debate on this year's allocation. We think it's a much-needed perk for this part of Brockley Road and hope they don't become a target for mindless, moronic vandals.


Long live the sorting office trees!

30 comments:

APP&P Troll said...

Where are the railings?

No idea what that blue plant is. I am very impressed with the number of people who have this dangling purple 'cone like' flowers over the front of their houses, accordingly to my parents it is incredibly hard to grow.

Chelsea flower show? Who needs it.

Do dah said...

The trees are nice, but they've probably put the kibosh on the farmer's market being relocated there now. Maybe a good thing.

Brockley Nick said...

I think there was a fairly consistent message from the farmers markets that the site wasn't big enough anyway.

Sian said...

I think that Brockley soil must have some mysterious ingredient because not only does the blue flowered plant/weed overrun the garden in the blink of an eye, but every single thing I have planted in my garden suddenly turns into a monster variety. I manage to kill house plants in days but the garden loves whatever I plant - roses, flowers from seed, bulbs, herbs, and even a bag of grass seed which a cheeky squirrel tore open and now I have grass everywhere, including on my bench! The blue weed looks pretty but it does tend to strangle out everything else which I think makes it a weed by definition.

Brockley Nick said...

Nice to have some photos on the site too Kate, thanks!

The Pirate King said...

Hmm, yes, we also have that stuff in the garden. Looks like a lot of the gardens in the area are overtaken with the stuff. Apparently the solution is to find a nicer plant that can compete with it for territory that you won't want to get rid of. But I've no idea what.

Hugh said...

You should leave the plants alone, man. They're doing the best they can and Brockley welcomes all comers.

APP&P Troll said...

Actually, isn't it just called 'forgot me not'?

Tressilliana said...

Green alkanet. Related to borage. Can cause rashes so be careful with it.

Monkeyboy said...

Plants...can't be doing with 'em. I'm just keeping my rampant garden in place with a bit of strimming twice a year.

I found a Japanese soldier in mine that hadn't heard the war was over - remarkable.

Tressilliana said...

Forget-me-nots also have small blue flowers and self-seed, but the green alkanet is a much taller plant and the leaves are larger and hairy. Forget-me-not is fairly low-growing.

Monkeyboy said...

...and trees. I've noticed a few uprooted saplings on Hilly Fields. I'm no eco-warrior but that does really annoy me. Can we have the perpetrators killed or at least lightly tortured?

Glenda said...

The "blue peril" plant is comfrey. It has large roots and you have to pull out the roots if you don't want it as it spreads fast. Had loads of it in South Tottenham aswell. It is really useful as a fertilizer/plant food thingy if you mulch down the leaves and leave them to ferment in some water for a few weeks (but the leaves should be chopped first)- then pour the liquid on plants and soil.

Headhunter said...

It's Green Alkanet. We've already talked about this a few weeks ago on another thread! Because it has long tap roots it is almost was impossible to eliminate without use of herbicide, but it'll always come back. I leave mine til it gets really rampant then hack it back a bit. Bees seem to love it, especially bumble bees which I hear are getting increasinly rare.

Borage and Forget-me-Nots are different plants. See good old Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_alkanet

As other people have asked here - where are the railings round the trees outside the PO? Someone here (Cllr Dean Walton?) said that the reason the council didn't replace trees as it chopped them down was because it is fundamentally necessary to have metal railings arund them to prevent them being uprooted or vandalised by minless eejits, yet the council seems to have gone ahead and planted these trees anyway! Why?

Lets see how long they're there before some drunken yoof breaks them off...

Headhunter said...

Sorry I meant to say that Comfrey is a different plant, not Borage

Brockley Nick said...

If the railingless trees survive then it will be great - I've always feared they'd buy some horrible railings that would negate the effect of the trees. Perhaps we should treat them as a test case. If the trees survive, humanity has a future.

Monkeyboy said...

You're in a very benevolent mood tonight Nick? I fear a dystopian future, a Brockley full of dead eyed lawyers and meedja luvies looking for their next skinny latte fix.

Anonymous said...

As a vandal I object to being called either mindless or moronic, innit.

Anonymous said...

Were the photos of the trees taken with your locality funded hoodie cam?

Brockley Kate said...

No, sadly not. they were taken with my own law-abiding taxpayer cam.

Monkeyboy said...

God isn’t the weather shite? I was going to go for a run but sod it, I decided to make this instead - Aromatic pork belly hot pot It’s bubbling away in my slow cooker as I speak while I lie on my sofa with a glass of wine and a good book, An Evil Cradling – Brian Keanan. Reading about someone being chained to a radiator for three years seems appropriate on a grey day, still I’ll be eating like a lord in a couple of hours so not all bad

Tressilliana said...

That sounds good and it also sounds easy so may give it a go.

I think I'm going to bake some potatoes. Just the weather for it and I could do with the warmth.

Monkeyboy said...

Very easy, just chuck it in a pot. For the full oriental experience buy the ingredients (including the pork) at See Woo in Greenwich. I bought a huge bag of star anise for 85p and the tanks full of giant crabs and eels give a whole new perspective on 'fresh' fish.

Headhunter said...

So how was it then Monkeyboy (the hot pot)? I did the next best thing and got a friend to cook up Sunday lunch before having a few too many drinks at the Commercial in Herne Hill. We did the pub quiz and came 4th out of 16 teams!

Monkeyboy said...

Fantastic, It is quiet fatty but if it wasn't it wouldn't be belly pory - you can skim a lot of it off before reducing the juice, It's like eating half a ton of streaky bacon otherwise. Just cycle up a few hills to loose the calories if you don't want the cycling lycra facists laughing at you.

Monkeyboy said...

Fantastic, It is quiet fatty but if it wasn't it wouldn't be belly pory - you can skim a lot of it off before reducing the juice, It's like eating half a ton of streaky bacon otherwise. Just cycle up a few hills to loose the calories if you don't want the cycling lycra facists laughing at you.

Headhunter said...

Sounds delish. I was supposed to do a long old bike ride on Sun but unfortunately it was p*ssing down so no I feel a bit bloaty and unhealthy having eaten and drank my way through the weekend...

John said...

It's DEFINITELY Green Alkanet and it's a bugger! I've failed to eliminate it for years (usually because at first it looks like foxglove which I also have).
Last year I extracted a root which was over two inches this at the top and over an inch thich where it snapped of over three feet away).
Apparently it was imported by monks to make red die for robes.

Headhunter said...

God this thread is a blast from the past. Green Alkanet has "tap roots" which is why it's hard to get rid of. Tap roots are like like carrots or parsnips which shoot straight down deep into the earth and then shoot off thinner, horizontal roots to the sides from the main tap. If you try to pull it up by its leaves, they tend to tear off leaving the long tap root in place, the Green Alkanet then simply regrows. To get rid of it you have to catch it very early before it gets the chance to shoot the tap root down into the earth, dig it out with a spade and hope that you can manage to take enough of the main tap root out to prevent it regrowing or use weedkiller. My neightbour used a spray on leaf weedkiller on the Green Alkanet in her garden and managed to clear it for a year or so, but then it just reseeded itself. I tend to leave some of it in place whilst its flowering - the little blue flowers are quite pretty and the local bees and insects seem to love them.

Anonymous said...

Its Pentaglottis sempervirens (Green Alkanet). its closely related to borage and i think the flowers are edible.

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