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The Tuesday tree: May greenness

May 1, 2012

Happy May Day! This is a day which, despite being hijacked by the Reds in the twentieth century, is always associated in my mind with the colour green. Ahh, isn’t May a beautiful month in Britain? April, however pretty, is still fraught with the possibility of frosts and even brief snowfalls (and indeed we have had both this April). In May, however, you can feel the earth exhaling, relaxing into the promise of summer. A slow green smile spreads over the face of the countryside. There is blossom on the fruit trees, there are flowers in gardens, and even the most hesitant of trees (the ash is usually last, and the beech and sweet chestnut have been slow this year too) are flowering or unfurling their first translucent green leaves.

Yesterday I took the dogs through the woods at around six o’clock in the evening. It’s a lovely time to be outside. The landscape is softened by the hazy light of evening, and birdsong fills the woods.

A green oak throws its evening shadow across the grass; at the left of the picture you can see our ancient gean still blossoming

At the weekend my husband and son repaired the woodland path which had been destroyed by the clear-up operation after the winter storms. They have done a lovely job, so the dogs and I follow their trail of stones into the heart of the wood, past the green horse chestnut.

Overhead, the fulness of the horse chestnut contrasts with the first tentative sprays of green on the silhouettes of the beech. To me, there is no green so exquisite as the green of spring beech leaves: they are later than last year, so I have all that to look forward to.

By contrast, the new growth on the oaks looks quite a rusty, golden green.

And the new oak leaves look more like little frills than the misty spray of the beech leaves.

This May, I wish you every shade of sweet, refreshing, spring green.

You might enjoy: Beech woods in springtime and The Trees, a poem by Philip Larkin.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2012 2:41 pm

    Happy May Day to you and yours, m’dear. Thanks, as always, for the lovely pictorial reminders of Bonnie Scotland. BTW – your oaks look to be ahead of ours. Victoria, however, celebrates spring with cherry & plum trees so heavily laden with blossom they look like candyfloss trees. Every garden is a delight and the wildlife keeps us highly entertained. With your photo updates, I’m getting the best of both sides of the pond!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 1, 2012 4:25 pm

      Thanks for dropping by again, Jessica, it’s nice to hear from you as ever.
      It sounds lovely in Victoria, especially the blossom. I remember your pleasure in the February blossom last year: this year, we had it then too, though not on the scale of the city! I’d love a glimpse of your wildlife though. No bears in the city, I guess, but there must be some wonderful birds and creatures.

  2. May 1, 2012 5:17 pm

    Gorgeous, DB. I do love your tree posts. 🙂 A happy May day to you too. We’re still guiltily revelling in cloudless blue skies and wall-to-wall sunshine up here on the north coast, while so much of the UK is still squelching through the mud and rain. It’s even warm today and our solitary silver birch is just starting to break into leaf.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 1, 2012 7:57 pm

      Oh, THANK you, Perpetua! I was beginning to wonder about giving up my tree posts…but as long as someone still enjoys them, I’ll keep doing them.

      If I were you I wouldn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about the wonderful weather you’re having. The prevailing easterlies of May bring the west coast its only month of really fine weather, after all, so it is to be enjoyed while it lasts!

  3. May 1, 2012 9:40 pm

    Oooh no please don’t give them up!!!! I LOVE them! I’m just not very good at commenting these days….sigh…… These are lovely. As you know, Spring is my favourite season. And it’s lovely to be reminded of how the trees greet it in other parts of the country where trees are Big 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 1, 2012 11:17 pm

      Hurray, more love for my precious trees! Thank you, Sian. You were one of the islanders who inspired the ‘Tuesday trees’ in the first place, so I am very happy to continue them for you. 🙂 Perthshire is marketed these days as Big Tree Country, as your allusion reminds me; or as my husband says, ‘Trees R Us’. Such eloquence!

  4. May 2, 2012 10:59 am

    Another vote for keeping the tree posts! I love trees and your posts about them are so poetic and have such lovely pictures 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 2, 2012 11:40 pm

      Delighted to get another vote, and thank you for your comments! Looks like the trees are stuck with me for a while longer then.

  5. May 2, 2012 9:42 pm

    Hmmm, you must be in a micro climate in Perthshire. Not much relaxing of the earth into summer going on in chilly East coast Edinburgh just now!
    Btw, I’ve just opened a WordPress account, planning to do another blog just for recording an event, and I discover that it’s forcing my comments on other WordPress blogs to refer to my not-yet-active blog. And now I’m trapped – it turns out you can never delete a WordPress account!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 2, 2012 11:42 pm

      Honestly, I think Perthshire does have its own micro-climate. It certainly beats Edinburgh’s! 😀
      Interesting to hear about your WP experiences. Who knew? I guess this blog is one of the millions online for all eternity then – or until someone pulls the plug.

  6. May 5, 2012 11:01 pm

    No, please don’t give up your tree posts! I can never get enough of trees and even though we’ve so many here – forest fronting our house as well as some in our garden and surround – you have trees there that we don’t here and that I miss (in particular the Horse Chestnuts: trees of my childhood. And Limes. I dont see any Limes here).

    Is the path a long-time one or one your husband created? It looks like stepping stones over something…

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 8, 2012 6:50 pm

      Thank you, Val, it’s so encouraging to hear that people still enjoy the tree posts.
      The path was probably created in the 19th Century, when the wood was planted; but it has almost disappeared over the decades. It was one of several that were leveled out along the sloping hillside and which were edged with small stones. Of course, the stones get buried under autumn leaves, or they roll down the hill, or are squashed under foot, or kicked by children…so every now and then we have to find them and put them all back.

  7. Erika W. permalink
    May 7, 2012 9:46 pm

    Yes, yes to your tree posts. Trees are magical–outliving manty of us and beautiful to the last.

    My own favorite here in our back garden is a huge American red maple–pale dun leaves as they unfold, after the red furry flowers, then darkening to a rich red purple above and a greenish brown beneath.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      May 8, 2012 6:53 pm

      I entirely agree with your appreciation of the magic of trees, Erika! Right, tree posts will continue…and your maple sounds just gorgeous.


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