A tall plant that is in flower at present is one that we should all be aware of, Japanese knotweed, THIS PLANT IS A MENACE. It has tall zigzag bamboo like stems and grows in large clumps that increase yearly. It has large lime green leaves and its cream flowers grow in large spikes of numerous small flowers. It doesn’t set seed but spreads by its roots and has been known to cause structural damage! If you strim it, the chips can grow and if chopped down, stems can take root given the right conditions. The plant will grow back after chopping down, it takes a continued treatment of herbicide to eradicate it. You can contact DAFF at Knockaloe, tel. 842335 to receive and pass on information regarding the plant, where it is growing etc. They will send you a leaflet giving good information regarding identification and the do’s and don’ts if you think you have it growing nearby.
The flower season is now well over but there are still a number of flowers to be found. Golden rod – Slatt-airh is a Cushag like flower that should be out, Soapwort – Lus Y Sheeabin I feel that Soapwort flowers twice, (I am sure it doesn’t), because I notice it early in the year and again now. It is a quite tall plant with large pink flowers, which can be single or double, it can be found on the hedge near Knockaloe entrance (if the Highway Board hedge trimmers haven’t already decimated it!!), also near to the Lhen Bridge and down Shore Road, the Ballaleigh and Orrisdale road, Kirk Michael. It gets its name from the plants ability to make a lather and can be used as a soap substitute.
I noticed Fat hen – Coll mea (I have also heard it called Kill May too) in seed the other day, I don’t think it is the problem weed that it used to be due to different farming methods, but has much food for birds in its seed head, so its not all bad. The hedgerows are full of seeding plants but two of the prettiest are Old man’s beard or (a much nicer name) Traveller’s joy – Moidjyn Vreeshey and Wild hops – Lus lhionney. Both of them drape the hedge giving a wonderful effect.
Common toadflax (Wild snapdragon) – Lhieen Frangagh now can be seen Ballaugh side of the Ballacurn road on both sides of TT course. Yarrow – Airh hallooin and Sneezewort – Lus y chorran are still in flower. They resemble each other with Sneezewort having fewer, larger flowers on each stalk. Conkers – Cro chabbyl should be around by now, you’ll see kids and dads, collecting them at the Conker fields.
I cannot finish October without mentioning Hop tu Naa – (NOT Halloween I must add and there are no ‘trick or treaters’ given money at my house), I also like to hear sung what I think is the correct song:-
Hop tu naa, Hop tu naa
Ginnie the Witch went over the house,
to fetch a stick to lather the mouse.
Hop tu naa.
I still hollow out a ‘moot’ or turnip (pronounced – tinnup). Last year I had some mighty ones from Geoffrey Quirk at Ballaquine. I use a big drill to rough it out these days, but I don’t like to see pumpkins even though they’re easier to hollow out, not Manks, I must be getting ‘oul’.