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The Tuesday tree: birch on an amber hillside

September 25, 2012

Up on the hills, north of the Highland line, autumn is well established. The heather flowered quite early this year and has faded to warm russet, while the grasses and sedge are already tawny gold. I love these mellow shades, the colours of whisky and of burns (streams) trickling over peaty soil.

The quintessential tree of this landscape is the birch. Birches seem to grow on thin, acidic soil where nothing else will grow except for the occasional lone rowan. Oh, and commercial conifer plantations, of course, as you can see on the far ridge here.



The landscape of these hills also featured this time last year, in the it’s-still-Tuesday-in-Samoa-tree.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2012 6:38 am

    It´s a lovely time of year. Great photo 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 25, 2012 10:46 am

      Isn’t it. Thank you!

  2. September 25, 2012 10:54 am

    I’m always so happy to receive a new Dancing Beasties! Fall is my favorite time of year. Living in a seaside town the colors and rhythms of the seasons are like meeting friend you’ve been meaning to call in an unlikely location. Thanks again for brightening my day.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 25, 2012 3:47 pm

      Oh, that’s so nice to hear! Thank you, Melinda, you have brightened my day, too. 🙂

  3. September 25, 2012 3:07 pm

    Lovely tree with an interesting shape to it. I love the bark of birches.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 25, 2012 3:48 pm

      It’s quite tall and gnarled: I wonder how old it is. You can barely see the papery whiteness of its bark as it must have been in its youth.

      • September 25, 2012 5:22 pm

        I love the idea of a tree having a period of time called ‘youth’. 🙂

  4. September 25, 2012 5:09 pm

    Lovely scene: muted colors quietly announcing fall. Does the wind whisper through the tall grasses making them wave? Just beautiful spot to stand and watch.
    We have river birches that grow along creeks in to regions (the ones planted for “landscape” struggle and look out of place here). I used to love to wander in the fall to one stand of birches that grew along one of our creeks – and would peel bark off to make tiny canoes for dolls – or just to float in the cattle tank.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 25, 2012 11:28 pm

      ‘Tiny canoes for dolls’ – how magical. The way that children’s imaginations work is endlessly fascinating.
      The tall grasses do rustle in the wind, at least when the weather is dry. On this particular day, I was mostly aware of the sound of the rain dropping onto my hat!

  5. September 25, 2012 8:53 pm

    The quiet beauty of birches. Such an essential part of the Scottish landscape.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      September 25, 2012 11:28 pm

      Hear hear.

  6. hmunro permalink
    September 29, 2012 7:35 am

    I have always loved birches, more than most other trees: Their delicate, paper-thin bark belies their toughness and tenaciousness. I should very much hope to have the same qualities. 🙂

  7. September 30, 2012 4:22 pm

    Autumn is fast approaching here, DB, but you really are ahead of us. We have a silver birch in our garden in the north of Scotland and I never tire of watching it bending so gracefully before the wind. Trees of any size are rare up there, but somehow the birches manage to hold on.

  8. October 9, 2012 4:46 pm

    just back from Glen Garry, which was looking stunning. particularly the rowans and wild roses – which are waving the most wonderful rosy hips. Was just wondering as I wandered – how is DB’s? Is her shadow hound still catching her eye? Hope so – and hope that her heart is lifted by the colours.X

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