Dwarf Mountain Pine Pinus mugo

Pinus mugo pine gets its latin name from the Italian word, mugho for '"dwarf”. True to this name, this is a low-growing, shrubby pine that is often planted in domestic gardens and containers as specimens or ground cover. It can be recognized mainly by its low height which rarely grows above your knee. It has dark green foliage, and needle-like leaves like its larger pine relations.

Photo credit: Colin McAlister

Antarctic beech (Northofagus antarctica)

One of the Greenways most extreme trees  - Antarctic Beech is the focus for this weeks blog post. This specimen is native to the southern hemisphere; Chile and Argentina and an island called Hoste which allows its claim, as the southernmost tree on earth. As such it will withstand temperatures down to -20. Antarctic beech was introduced to Britain in the 1830’s from Chile.

Pear Tree- Pyrus

The pear tree or shrub is native to coastal and mildly temperate parts of western Europe, north Africa and parts of Asia. It is generally an elegant medium-sized tree known for having a tall, narrow form. This makes some varieties of pear a great street tree and you may be surprised to know that there are hundreds of pear trees growing happily in the footpaths around Belfast including along the Newtownards Road.

Autumn on the Greenway

Our Connswater Community Greenway photographers have submitted some beautiful pictures of autumn colours which demonstrate the change in seasons along the Greenway in all its autumn beauty.

Autumn is typically associated with increasingly shorter days, colder temperatures and leaf fall but it is the colours which make it a truly great time of the year to get outdoors for a breath of fresh air.


Photo by Paul Hunter 


Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)

With Autumn in full force we focus on a small tree that boasts spectacular autumn colour and a year round interest. Its common name indicates the uniqueness of its bark, and we encourage you to keep an eye out over the next few weeks for the change in leaf colour.

The Paperbark maple is native to central China and was introduced to Europe in 1901. A small ornamental, it grows to only 5-7m at maturity and it boasts the RHS Award of Merit.

Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Flamingo’)

This is the first time we have highlighted one of our beautiful Greenway grasses and thought we would mark the occasion with one of our favourite. A highly commended, robust and unusually coloured grass we think this is a real crowd pleaser!

Stonecrop Sedum telephinium ‘herbstfreude’

This week we have chosen a Greenway plant that notably marks the end of summer but continues to spectacularly flower through autumn. Sedum, a large genus of up to 600 flowering plants commonly known as Stonecrops.

Herbstfreude translates literally and understandably in English as ‘Autumn Joy’, appropriately reflecting our sentiment and highlighting another one of its common names.

Maple (Acer)

This week we are focusing on the genus of trees collectively known as Acers (Maples). We have a number of different Maples on the Greenway from the common ‘Sycamore’ ‘Field ‘and ‘Norway’ Maples along the riversides and parks to the more decorative Red and Paperbark Maples in C.S. Lewis Square.

Most species are deciduous, and leaves typically have 5 pointed lobes (there can be 3-9 in some varieties). Almost all are renowned for their spectacular autumn leaf colour.

London Plane (Platanus x hispanica)

Although it is the most common tree in London, it is considered that London Plane is not native to England. This hybrid is acknowledged as a natural result of two trees being planted close to each other in Spain hence its name x hispanica. The scientific name Platanus derives from the Greek word ‘plays’ which means broad. Plane trees not only have extremely large, domed crowns but also have very large broad leaves.

Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra

Common knapweed is one of the most familiar floral sights in the UK. With its habit and similar pink / purple crow its very close in appearance to a thistle and as such often mistaken for it. However it can be easily distinguished by its absence of spines and prickles.