Waterloo seafront gardens, 23rd June 2024

Today started misty, overcast and damp, but the sun came out about 11 am. Waterloo seafront gardens sit between the large houses that used to be right on the beach, and the Marine Lake. It is a conservation area, not far from the city centre, and close to the world-famous Antony Gormley ‘Another Place’ statues which stand in the sand. There are four separate gardens in a row and today we visited Crescent Garden, Adelaide Garden and Beach Lawn Garden, built between 1932 and 1939. Here’s an old postcard of Adelaide Garden when it was opened in 1935 and a look along the same path today after 90 years growth of shrubs.

Some of the shrubs in flower were Jerusalem sage, Broom, Buddleia, Yellow Bush Lupin, Privet, Mock Orange, Japanese Snowbell and New Zealand Daisy Bush. We saw no butterflies, not even on the Buddleia.

Jerusalem sage
New Zealand Daisy Bush

Flowers included Poppies, Valerian, Bramble, Meadow Cranesbill, Dog Rose, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Daisies and Buttercups in the lawns and also the tall yellow Hawkbeard (probably Smooth Hawkbeard).

Bramble was popping out of the shrubberies everywhere. The council don’t garden much any more, apart from cutting the grass occasionally, and the volunteer Friends do their best, but sometimes the neglect of “tidying” makes patches of loveliness.

There is a thriving colony of House Sparrows, cheeping loudly in the dense bushes, but rarely seen. Goldfinches were coming to the pond to drink. Swallows were swooping low over the grassy mounds. Although we saw hardly any insects of any kind, just a few Bumble Bees visiting flowers, the Swallows must have been finding something. Elsewhere there were Wood Pigeons, Magpies, Carrion Crows, and Gulls calling overhead.

The pond in Beach Lawn garden has been cleared of choking vegetation by the Friends during the last couple of winters. All the weed they removed was carefully left on the banks to allow any creatures to get back into the water. But despite that precaution, we saw no dragonflies, no damselflies, and not even the tiny rare one, the Small Red-eyed Damselfly, that sits on mats of algae. But one beneficiary of that clear-out has been a small colony of orchids that have popped up out of nowhere. They are probably Southern Marsh orchids.

There are two islands in the pond, and the orchids are on the inner ends of each island, not far from each other but separated by several feet of pond water. Are they somehow connected under the pond liner? (But that’s probably concrete). Is it an effect of seed dispersal? Who knows why they have suddenly appeared just there.

Public transport details: Bus 53 from Queen Square at 10.02, arriving Waterloo Interchange / South Road at 10.39. I was able to walk home but the others headed for Waterloo station and the train back to Liverpool.

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