Tree Following: Fool’s Autumn

If last month the trees and hedges were starting to look somewhat faded and jaded, this month they are tumbling headlong into Fall. As my weather gallery shows, London has had virtually no rainfall for most of July. In the public squares, the hornbeam hedges are browning off so it was with some trepidation I visited Gordon Square and the specimen Carpinus betulus of my tree following year:-

And sure enough with sunlight glancing through the branches, the deep summery greens have turned pale, thinned out and the tree is displaying buff coloured clusters of what looks like dead leaves, spread throughout the canopy

But most of these are the maturing seedcases rather than desiccated foliage and remind me of the Sycamore’s key bunches. Zooming in, it looks as though the tree has decorated itself in garlands of dry flowers.

At the tree’s base, the undergrowth is dying back and ageing fast. Brambles have finished flowering but they have not fruited in this somewhat shady spot, although elsewhere this year, blackberries are already being harvested. Yesterday a short spell of rain brought brief freshness but it is too little too late for most of the trees, as evidenced by the depth of leaf litter.

Nevertheless the Hornbeam’s sucker (right of the trunk) is taking succour from the mature tree, enough at least to withstand the worst of the drought conditions.

In general, the trees of London’s squares are appearing in ‘Fool’s autumn’ colour. Wilting and dropping their leaves early to save water. Those less tolerant of drought such as birch, or the water-restricted street trees, have been first to show distress.

And so under a dry and dusty aura, the Hornbeam’s remaining ribbed foliage clings determinedly to the last month of summer.

Tree Following with Lucy: There’s a link box on Loose and Leafy on 7th of the month for 7 days. Every month!
And am also following Pat@The Squirrel Basket who also is shadowing a Hornbeam


16 thoughts on “Tree Following: Fool’s Autumn

  1. Yes, it’s certainly looking quite autumnal here in Suffolk, too, particularly after the heavy rain we had yesterday which made the roses droop and lose their petals. There is still much colour in the garden … begonias, pelargoniums, gazanias … but there are loads of Silver Birch seeds and blackberries. In my childhood we always thought of August as a *truly* summer month … alas, no longer.


  2. It’s as if we’ve had an overdose of summer. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a fuss on the news about drought and hose-pipes. After a winter of winds and a summer without much rain I imagine many trees around the country are feeling a bit stressed.


  3. Poor thing, it is doing quite well all things considered. Premature leaf drop can feel so depressing. I’ve been very anxious about my new trees, but so far they seem to be doing OK, although one of the three birches has some browned leaves.


  4. Your tree is still looking lovely. This drought is causing a lot of stress but as long as the trees lose their leaves they are usually all right.If the leaves die on the trees and don’ t fall off, then that means trouble.
    I suppose we will get a really early autumn this year.


  5. “Fool’s Autumn” is a term I’d not heard before, maybe it’s not in use here (western USA). But it should be! Fortunately we’re not having one this year — good late season moisture.


  6. What lovely pale transparency! I can’t believe how different your London hornbeam is from mine! It really must be wet here in Wales, since mine is still relentlessly green, as you have commented.
    I am also keeping an eye on a smaller hornbeam in a garden beside a street near where I live, and that hasn’t started turning for autumn yet either.
    It’s great to compare notes.
    I love what you are doing with your blog 🙂


    1. thank you 🙂 x particularly like the fact that we can compare trees in our very different locales – have just found another in nearby Grays Inn so might add in that one next time- it too is right on a street boundary


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