Tree following: Midsummer

Even though it feels as if it’s barely begun, it’s already Midsummer and the lane next to the church is now green and leafy. Lovely as it is, this is probably the least interesting time for the lane.

Fallen elderflowers and other petals lie scattered like confetti from nearby Christ Church.

Alongside them are Midsummer reminders of Autumn.

The holes in the tree still hold a fascination for me. I put my hand in and took some more photos of the inside, with irrational thoughts of the Boca della Verita at the back of my mind.

 

 

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Tree following: In theory

I know I haven’t updated about the cider orchard at The Walled Garden at Woodhouse Community Farm for a while. This is because nothing much has happened!

 

More is going on in our cider co-operative than with our cider trees however. We’re meeting up soon to discuss the theory of cider, with a more practical day planned for the autumn. Will we have any apples by then? Maybe, but not from this orchard…..

There’s an open day at the farm this Sunday from 2pm to 5pm, which is a great opportunity to go along and have a look at this lovely place and find out more about the brilliant Community Supported Agriculture scheme they run. Say hi to the trees for me!

Tree following: White Heat

“No, I can’t come out with you, I’m supposed to be working”. “You know you want to… I’m only going to be around for the next few days and then I don’t know when I’ll be back in Lichfield again”. “Oh, go on then…..”

Yes, my old friend summer is back in town, and so I went to see how my tree that I follow on the path from Leomansley Wood to Pipe Green is getting on. To be honest I’m now following pretty much the whole path, so the tree doesn’t get that much of a look in these days. I’m sure it’ll come in to its own as the seasons progress though!

It was a delight for most of the senses.  Birdsong and drumming woodpeckers, butterflies and an abundance of mostly white flowers along the floor and hedgerows, the warmth of the sun, the cool of the breeze and the shade of the trees and of course the scent of early summer in the air. Taste is the only one that eluded me on my walk (although I’m sure there were probably some wild goodies I could have tried if I was both more knowledgeable and brave about these things). I think my tea & cake when I got home might just about count though.

Tree following: Mayday

It took a bit of effort to drag myself out into the murky, wet evening. Glad I made the effort though. Before I’d even got to the woods, I had a treat when a heron swooped down onto a roof and remained there for a few moments before flying off in the direction of Waitrose. I’ve spotted a heron a couple of times near the old mill pool over there. On twitter, Brownhills Bob & someone from the Pipe Green Trust thought he may have been heading to a heronry at Aldershawe.

Another few steps and I found myself passing a slightly wonky fairyring of mushrooms. I didn’t get too near. I’ve read what happens to mortals who do…..

Once in the woods, the trees, plants and hedgerows glistened, but with drops of recent rainfall, rather than may dew.

I wanted to measure my tree, to get an idea of how old it was. It soon became apparent that this was no task to undertake alone. The people in the flats overlooking the lane, and this robin that turned up to watch, probably wondered what on earth I was doing.

Happily, I managed to enlist someone’s help and we discovered that the trunk measured about 3.2m which could mean that it is anything from around 210 years old to around 130 years old. According to the Royal Forestry Society, a tree could grow between 1.5cm & 2.5cm per year, depending on things like location, soil quality.  So I’m going to read up on Mitchell’s Rule and then maybe I’ll have another go at estimating the age!

Tree measuring task completed, I headed back down the lane and met a couple out for a walk. They didn’t seem to mind the weather, in fact they thought it was lovely…….

 

 

Tree following: April Showers…..

It was time to revisit my tree on the lane next to Christ Church.  

Now I think it might be a horse chestnut.

I managed to dodge the heavy showers that had been falling on and off all day, but there was plenty of evidence of them. The air had an earthy smell and looking back towards Christchurch Lane from the A51 end, I noticed the reflection of the trees in the puddles. I’m not sure whether the onion ring crisp spillage adds to or detracts from the scene.

Soggy Crisps

I bet that the crisps were an after school snack, dropped in the haste to get get home before the next shower, but I wonder how these flowers came to be here? From the nearby churchyard perhaps?

Discarded flowers

 It was good to see some new arrivals along the lane.

 

 

This reminds me. How are those bluebells in Leomansley Woods coming along?

Tree Following: Sticking it out

To contrast with Leomansley Woods, I’m also following the newly planted cider orchard at The Walled Garden at Woodhouse Community Farm.

The majority of the orchard was planted on a cold but sunny day in January, but there were 8 more trees to be planted and so I went along last Sunday. Another sunny day, but a bit warmer this time!

There will be apples.....

 

.....one day.

Some buds are starting to form, but other than that, there’s not much change.  So it looks like it might be some time before we get to make any cider. Until then, sitting & chatting in the sun in the beautiful surroundings of the farm,  a cup of tea and one of Annamarie’s cakes will do just fine 🙂

By the way, The Walled Garden have their own website here where you can find out more about the farm and sign up for their community supported agriculture scheme.

Tree Following: Yellow

This week I went along to Leomansley Woods to do my first bit of tree following. It probably sounds ridiculous but choosing one tree wasn’t that easy. You can’t see the tree for the woods or something I suppose. In the end I decided on this tree, at the edge of the wood.

The surrounding debris & hazy memories of last year lead me to believe this is an Oak.

Jumbled branches

 

The trunk. I'll take a tape measure next time to get some clue to the tree's age?

 

Lichen

 

Is this a coaltit getting in on the act?

While I was there, I thought following the entrance to the woods, the woodland floor and the hedgerows running alongside the lane might be nice too.

The entrance to the woods. The path running alongside forms part of The Darwin Walk and will take you to Pipe Green

Judging by the green shoots, it won’t be long before the woods are covered in bluebells. I think though, the colour of March is going to be yellow.

Lesser celandine?

 

Even I know that these are daffodils!

 

I don't know these though - they were growing in the hedgerow.

As a bit of a disclaimer (though if you read the captions above it hardly needs to be said!), I don’t know that much about trees & plants. I can’t tell my ash from my elder. One of the reasons I want to do this, is because it’ll be a good opportunity to learn more. For example, I now know what Lesser Celandine is, and that as one of the first flowers of the year, it is known as Spring Messenger. Slightly less picturesque is one of its alternative names – Pilewort.

I’ve already had some great input from a couple of people, on where to find interesting trees in our area. There could well be a ‘Tree Hunting’ spin off! So a big thanks to Roger and Pat for this – I shall be keeping my eyes open!

Also, over to the right are some links to people who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to flora and fauna, and they take some fabulous photographs to prove it! I definitely recommend taking a look!