Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Welton Road Cemetery, Daventry

Today has not been particularly hot (about 21 degrees Celsius) but has been sticky and sultry. Not perhaps the best of days for a long walk but I resolved to go out and stretch my legs. I made Daventry's Welton Road Cemetery my target, having passed it many times but never entered.

A municipal cemetery tends to be well-maintained to the point where nature barely has a toehold, but there is generally something worthy of note. There are usually some odd things to be seen too. Some are quirky and deliberate:

Others are unfortunate, like this misspelling:

And then there was the case of someone apparently buried in a wheelbarrow:

Of course, my main objective was wildlife. The plant family Plasticaceae was well represented, with Polythenus vulgaris much in evidence. However as well as plastic creations there were some real flowers to be seen, including Platycodon grandiflorus.
Platcodon grandiflorus in flower at Welton Road Cemetery, Daventry.
21 September, 2016

This member of the Campanulaceae (and thus related to harebells, etc) is frequently called the Balloon Flower, on account of the inflated 'balloon' created by the unopened petals. Hailing from northern China and Japan, it has become a very familiar plant in our gardens.

The plant is often called the Balloon Flower.
The burial area is surrounded by conifers, principally Lawson's Cypress, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana. The Latin name seem inappropriate, as 'chamae' means 'low' and yet this tree will sometimes attain a height of 45 metres.  On virtually all the trees I examined there were specimens of Juniper Shieldbug, Cyphostethus tristriatus. The rapid spread of this bug and its change in status from a rarity largely confined to south east England to a very widespread insect is well known. Once it found that Lawson's Cypress was to its liking it soon, with its boomerang-shaped markings, became familiar to entomologists.

Juniper Shieldbug on Lawson's Cypress. Welton Road Cemetery,
 Daventry. 21 September, 2016
As the photograph shows, these amber markings on the forewings allow the bug - for it is a true bug - to blend in to its background remarkably well.

Cemeteries are hardly exciting places but I must say that this is a well- maintained site, compared with the dreadful condition prevailing in parts of Banbury's Southam Road Cemetery.


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