too many trees
Suddenly we are in the fleeting, magical fortnight or so when every day brings more trees into leaf, more startling green to the landscape. Every day the view from my bedroom window is different. The tawny mass of the distant beechwood has washes of green in it today: errant sycamores, perhaps, ahead of the beeches. The horse chestnuts have proper little leaflets hanging from them now and even the silhouettes of the oaks are thickening with fat buds. White blossom is beginning to star the geans; the cherries have decked themselves in their frilly pink party clothes. My only problem for a Tuesday tree post, then, is which to choose. I have been dithering. But if I dither much longer it’ll be Wednesday, so I have decided to show you several. What the hell, let’s live a little!
This wonderful wash of spring green is rather an unusual tree for this part of the world: it is a notafagus, a South American beech. Quite a number were planted here by my father-in-law, and they seem to do very well. For most of the year I don’t pay them much attention, but they always cheer us in the spring as they are amongst the earliest trees to come into leaf. They have neat little leaves, not unlike the common beech but rather stiffer looking.
Every year in the spring I can’t help feeling that the ancient, gnarled limes and sycamores look a little foolish when they burst into leaf. It’s both endearing and slightly embarrassing, like seeing a usually grave and elegant elder getting giggly at a wedding. I wonder if you can see what I am fumbling to say. Here is an example of a venerable old sycamore newly decked in little green frills:
and here’s another, suddenly frivolous after months of grim austerity:
Perhaps the tree I most look forward to in the winter, though, is that strange creature, the larch. We have so many conifers here, but this is the only one that loses its needles and must begin afresh each year like a broadleaf. My husband takes (from himself) a week’s salmon fishing on the river here in the third week of April. The greening of the larches almost always coincides with the fishing week. It is an annual treat to walk along the river bank through the larch wood, with the purple buds like little sea anemones studding the branches of the female trees, and the bare fronds turning their longed-for feathery green. I will leave you with a picture of some larches on the drive, then: they are not as big as the ones by the river, but they are just as pleasing, as I hope you will agree.