It’s starting to feel like Spring and what better way to celebrate than getting out into the fresh air to hug some trees! Nature has a way of persuading us to leave the comfort of a warm sofa and brave the elements – the first sighting of Spring lambs, for example – aahhh!! ,
and the promise of some stunning country views and the trees – there they are again – they just seem to weather anything winter throws at them.
After Spring comes Summer, for some of us a chance to sit under a shady tree and do a spot of fishing,
while others prefer to sit outside and contemplate the trees in the far distance, or silhouetted against a glorious sunset.
Photography makes you more observant – it’s a fact! You start to see everything in a new light (no pun intended!) – new angles, interesting juxtapositions, the way shadows fall, including your own! and how colours interact. Old hands tell you to look carefully, but not just in front of you. No! Look up! Look down! Look around! And this is never more important than when you are photographing a tree. Some have exposed roots at your feet, then there’s the lacework of leaves swaying overhead. Some are laden with nuts and some have nests tucked away in the upper branches. I always feel I should be able to identify more trees. Can you identify a tree from its bark? or its shape in the distance?
Ah, but what if I were a tree? Autumn would be the season I would enjoy most. Bedecked in that stunning autumn foliage – it must be like getting ready to go to the ball – and to choose from that palette of bronzes, gingers, rusts, corals, ochres and russets. I don’t understand those evergreens – they just refuse to get dressed up !
Trees are there for us all – human or not – kids climb them, big cats use them as pantries, small cats stalk along their branches to hunt birds (as if!), people sit under their shady branches, lovers etch their initials in the bark, they provide us humans with food, timber to build a house, firewood to keep us warm – and for the animal kingdom it’s much the same – cover, habitat, stores to see them through hibernation. Quite apart from all that, trees are beautiful to look at at: whether it’s a solitary oak spreading its branches in the middle of a field or a whole forest, dense and mysterious and a bit scary. Dense forests have been the setting for fairy tales and stories with speaking trees, trees with magic powers, trees that walk and scare us to death! Very often you can look at part of a tree and see in it someone or something – and some are just so old and gnarled they seem to have their life story written into the bark for us to read.
What do you see here?
And so to Winter. Trees make an excellent subject to photograph in winter – the images you capture can be really atmospheric – bare branches, stark against the winter sky. Even a fallen tree has a beauty to it – the way it is slowly but inescapably being reclaimed by lichen, forest ferns and fungus and decomposing back into the soil that once nurtured it.
There is such a variety of trees. Gardeners say there is a tree to suit any garden, whatever climate it is subject to and whatever size it is – so no excuse! we could all have one!
And if I were a tree? Maybe an oak but I can’t really be a tree so I’ll do the next best thing and plant one.
15 º !! The late March sunshine has drawn me outside for a stroll round the garden. Things are coming to life – well, some of them are! My garden is small – just as well, as I think the novelty would soon wear off if I had acres to cope with. What I have in the front garden is a motley collection of shrubs such as this mahonia – we’ve come to an uneasy truce – it has agreed not to get out of hand if I agree not to try and dig it up – whatever I do to it makes no difference, anyway – it is indestructible – I quite like it really – it provides some winter colour.
and this plant – cant remember it’s name, but it’s supposed to smell of chocolate. It doesn’t, but it has nice yellow flowers so it can stay.
Along the side which edges the public footpath I have a giant currant bush which deflects errant footballs , litter and the many dogs which come this way on their daily walks. And last autumn I put a few mixed daff bulbs in which have been flowering away for weeks now.
But it’s the back garden where I conduct my annual experiments – it’s a bit of a sun trap and secluded enough for me to sit out and read the newspaper or just admire my horticultural handiwork in the summer. I don’t have much luck with the herbs I grow in pots as you can see :
– especially rosemary, but this year it is thriving – look at this – it’s even flowering!
The chives are making a comeback and so is the fennel
and I can rely on the permanent residents to provide interest whilst the newcomers get established.
To provide some seclusion and added height my son put a sturdy trellis up along one fence, but because the things I grow along it have to be in pots I’ve had varying degrees of success. I’ve tried clematis which I find quite a contrary species – since doing some research I have discovered the best ones to choose for exposed positions are the little bell shaped ones – I have one so I need more of the same.
The rather exquisite Princess Di clematis with waxy red flowers, bought at a local garden show, gave up almost straight away, then came back, then disappeared again (seemed as unpredictable as its namesake) and then there’s the one with glorious white flowers like dinner plates – the plant re emerges every spring but only produces a couple of flowers now – perhaps I need to nurture it more!
I found a local clematis grower with hundreds of varieties like the evergreen winter- flowering armandii, I had great plans for it – was going to let it weave itself up through the plum tree, which it did to be fair, but I discovered it didn’t like exposed, windy conditions and it, too, eventually perished – a shame as it was very different from the rest! These pictures are from previous summers
But back to March. What else is stirring?
It’s exciting walking round my little patch, spying something else just coming back to life – the climbing rose, bought the year before last), the photinia , drastically pruned last autumn a quarter of its original size, but flourishing,
the honeysuckle – well, impossible to kill that off , patio pots of aubretia, and the ubiquitous nasturtium,
And then there’s the prospect of filling my little veg patch with carrots, onions, strawberries, tomatoes and peas.
At the very bottom of my plot there are two fruit trees – a plum and a pear – which always provide me with enough fruit to make jam and pickle for the following winter, but the patch of ground they inhabit is a forgotten bit of land and plants which don’t thrive in the main garden tend to get transplanted down there – and you know what? most of them start to flourish – out of defiance, I think!! such as this euphorbia, which got uprooted when a new fence was put in out the back. Now that’s the sort of plant I like!