While not a native tree, characterful flowers, leaves and seeds have made the horse chestnut tree so wildly grown that it is (or should be) part of every British childhood. Tough, spiky cases with an inner layer of padding protect large, polished chestnut-coloured seeds (conkers) while they form.
One of my memories of Autumn ’22 will be standing under the canopy of the biggest horse chestnut tree in Bold Venture Park to see if any fine conkers were left in the leaf litter underneath, a habit that dies hard. Better than that, I soon discovered, turn and turn about, conkers tippling their balance from unreadiness to ripeness in a decisive instant were slowly, heavily, falling around me. Continue reading “Seeds of The Horse Chestnut or Conker Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)”
Regular readers may remember that I’ve mentioned a fairy path that tracks a leat draining the meadow above the southern edge of Sunnyhurst Wood in Darwen. Oak, chestnut, birch, beech, sycamore, ash, holly and elder are scattered among tall evergreens. Somewhere between a park and a wood, it is laced with main paths that run down to Sunnyhurst stream at the bottom of the valley. This isn’t one of them. Continue reading “On The Fairy Path”
Dawn Miller is hosting a weekly Festival of Leaves challenge to celebrate autumn that will run for the next 10 – 12 weeks. I’d have felt more concerned my first offering might not count, being counterfeit autumn leaves, had Dawn’s first not been chrysanthemums.
It’s standard practice to cut down living trees and make them into painted fences or decorated trinket boxes, but rare to leave a dead tree standing and turn it into sculpture. Continue reading “Keeping Fondren Funky: Tree Art by Bill Taylor”
Today, I’m featuring gardens that use birch trees to great effect. Flower lovers sometimes overlook trees, but if you can imagine these gardens without their chalky trunks, you’ll take away more than you might anticipate. Our eyes would hunger for them, were they absent. Continue reading “Using Birch in the Garden for Light, Rhythm and Texture”