Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tiny apples replace the blossom and a pink chestnut

This a few weeks ago ....

Has now turned to this. Unbelievable .... to me at any rate.

The blossoms are all fallen and the apples are starting to swell. Over in Bukhara where I was a few years ago they start eating the apples when they are still almost this tiny. Surprisingly they are quite sweet and nice. Someone from our village was going to Uzbekistan on a mission to look at their apple trees but it fell through. The country and the people are lovely but the politics is very nasty indeed.

Who dyed this chestnut pink?
In contrast with the normal horse chestnut with its white flowering candles, you find occasional trees with pink blossom. There is one on our village green planted to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth (the present one!) It was donated by the bakers who used to keep the shop and is about 55 years old now. These trees are not a real chestnut but are a cross between the American red buckeye and normal horse chestnut.

The blossom is really good this year. And at fifty years old our tree is getting towards being one of the oldest around. The buckeye is more like a bush than a tree and so these hybrids don't grow very big or live very long.

This is a close up of the flowers to compare with the white ones shown a few days ago. The actual red-buckeye flowers are bright crimson as you can see by following the second link below.

And here are the finished flowers, spread across the green in a pink carpet.

Here's a link to more about the pink chestnut.
And here's a lovely one for the red buckeye

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The weeping birch - fully leaved and a walnut leaf

The weeping beech is fully clothed now. Here is is at the beginning of May.

And here is a walnut tree from the same garden. The colours of the leaves are so wonderful I had to include them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The chestnut spikes bloom and so does the may

May 13th. The chestnut spikes are out and the tree looking glorious. You really need to click on this pic and see it full size. This is a remarkable tree.

May 8. Spikes out not quite so far.

April the beginning of the leaves.

Close up of the flowers. Those tiny green balls will eventually become conkers I imagine.

The flowers and the leaves. See how the leaves are starting to look tough and high-summery. There is a whole essay on chestnut leaves in the Penguin edition of Hopkins poems. They always have 7 leaflets he says (I'm not sure he's right, but they normally do). Anyway here is an essay on Hopkin's essay that I found on the net.

Anyway the may blossom (hawthorne) is amazing in the forest this year so I must include a pic. You suddenly come across them blazing white as you walk through the forest.

The apple blossom has fallen - the oak apples swell

The flowers are all gone now. Here's a reminder of what it was like just a few days ago - May 4 I think.

Beside the New Forest oak Nick is photographing is another, less healthy, oak. It is covered in "oak apples". These are swelling caused by a gall wasp that lays eggs in the leaf buds and deposits a chemical that causes the leaf to turn into a small round casing where the grubs can grow and are fed by the sap of the oak. There is more about this (probably more than you want to know) in a longer oak apple post on the sister blog Oak in Autumn. For a little while these galls look like tiny apples though they quickly turn browner and less attractive. Here is a pic, it really does look like a sweet little apple!.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The oak in sun and shade

Suddenly it is hot and the leaves are thick and there is the beautiful shade. Funny that I have not thought about shade any time since I started photographing the oak back in October. Funny that shade can be beautiful after months of longing only to get in the sun.

And here are the horses under the oak. No foals yet but with luck there will be one soon.

The apple petals fall

And now the petals fall and lie scattered on the grass. All so fast.
This was only a few days ago.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It happens so quick - a weeping beech transforms in a couple of days

These pictures were taken two days apart. Suddenly the leaves have come.
Compare these pictures of the leaves.
The buds are the long points of beech leaves
And then two days later - there are the leaves.

This weeping beech is in a garden in the South of the New Forest. It was growing too tall so the top was cut out. It is still thriving. Very often pollarded trees are the ones that are strongest. Experts think that the New Forest Oak featured in this blog was pollarded at one point in it 600 year or more life. Look at the bottom picture large (by clicking on it) and see the amazing contrast between the colous of the bud, the emerging leaf and the sky. Photos of the weeping beech are by Philippa.