The Tuesday tree: conifers for moongazers
As fellow moongazers will know, there is a full moon tonight. You’ll notice, then, that these photos were taken a few days ago. ‘Our’ moon rises between a stand of tall conifers at the end of the lawn in front of the castle, so we have a wonderful view of it from the front door as it floats slowly up through the trees like a helium balloon. Tonight’s full moon was spectacular, glowing amber through thin pink cloud as it rose: sadly my camera could not do it justice. I like these shots, though, which I took on Saturday afternoon, soon after five.
This first was taken looking out from under an ancient yew. The shorter looking (actually just further away) trees in the centre are Douglas firs, with their characteristic floppy tops. Am I allowed to say that I’ve always thought that they look a little effete? The tallest tree in the photo is a massive Sitka spruce. To get an idea of its size, you can just make out the bare branches of a fully mature sycamore (a century old or more) in front of it. Some Christmas tree!
In the photo below, you can see the Sitka on the left and, on the right, a most un-characteristic Douglas fir, at least for us. This is a different variety from our floppy ones. To my eyes, it is not nearly as appealing: stiff and rather dull. I am glad that it is the softer variety that was planted in such numbers here in the first half of the nineteenth century, making up the glorious cathedrals of mature trees that we enjoy today. Give me the swooping fronds and sweet fragrance of the more ‘effete’ Douglases any day.
You might enjoy In praise of the Douglas fir, which gives more about their history here.