Tree Following 2015: Going astray

London has such a vast choice of trees, from the pampered park specimens to the street urchins, that I’ve been chasing about in search of ‘the one’. This is my fourth year of ‘Tree following’ and here are some guidelines:
– preferably choose one before winter so that identity is easier (if there is no id label and its deciduous)
– not too tall as its hard to observe changes without a zoom lens unless lower branches are within reach or it has coppiced growth
– easily accessible and near enough so that the required regular checks are not a burdensome trudge
– and lastly it has to have that ‘je ne sais quoi’ factor as the relationship of observer and observed (not sure which is which sometimes) lasts a year.

The Green Man of Woburn square seemed to point the way, reminding me of the rather splendid tree in the far corner, though on these dull winter days it is hard to make such an association. But look at that bark,  the contrasts, the inosculation of twin trunks and still to come, delicate white flowers on dark purple plumage. Yes it had all the criteria of choice and my mind was set on Prunus ceracifera ‘Piisardi’ – thank goodness for the label.

The cherry plum nearly led me astray but I knew in my heart of hearts that it had already decided on the lovely linden trees or Tilia – all last summer, my camera lingered on the shades of chartreuse to jade that sunlight poured through the foliage. And then too, the scientist-in-me was intrigued by some new trees that had more recenly replaced the older specimens of Tavistock square’s pollarded lime walk.

The older trees are recorded as Tilia × europaea hybrids 1. and in grey January light their naked, stunted characters are rather underwhelming. Just discernible are the thinner, lighter trunks of the new trees, which are more clearly visible in the monochrome taken last November. So what are they? The faded paper tag is all the clue I have so far which looks like Tilia platyphollus or the big-leaved lime. Just possibly it might read Tilia petiolaris, the silver leaved Lime. Time will tell

Since they come as a linear forest, I shall not be focusing on any one tree but instead will compare and contrast the new with the older Lindens. So it’s going to be a lime and not a plum year after all!

1. West Bloomsbury tree walks

1-P1060995Many tree followers are continuing with their 2014 choice to complete the year in March. I’d not fully registered  this when I abandoned the Hornbeam in favour of Tilias this month…

…so here is a glimpse of the Carpinus betulus of Gordon Square in January- stocially bearing up against the roadworks behind with not a burst leaf bud in sight yet. Read the full story here

…but our host Lucy has no hard and fast rules for Tree following and as usual she will be putting the link box on Loose and Leafy on 7th of the month for 7 days. Every month!


20 thoughts on “Tree Following 2015: Going astray

  1. Your opening sentence, Laura, gave me visions of a wild woman haring around the capital pursuing trees. It’s a lovely image – a new fangled Ent Woman? Anyway, thank you for sharing your search. I too love lime trees, and kept photographing Much Wenlock’s Linden Walk this year.(And oh, the scent, which one unfortunately cannot share on wordpress). Our trees are over 100 years old, and have not been pollarded, only trimmed around the base. We are told they have another 100 years of life in them, which is good news. Look forward to seeing your limes through the year.

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    1. I have a lot in common with the green man 😉 the scent is so strong on Tillia that in can intoxicate bees, especially bumbles apparently. Meanwhile could not find a search on your blog to locate linden walk posts but googled this one of yours.


  2. Well this will be a treat to see your Tilias as I have chosen my new linden or Tilia Americana for my next tree starting in spring. How fun to see yours all grown as mine is about 5-6 ft tall now and just a twig.


  3. Well Laura, what a great post to start the TREE year! Of course my favourite tree has to be the Ash & maybe I shall try to write something about it soon. Meanwhile, Lime’s lightweight & even grain make it an ideal wood for carving (something I’ve begun this year); on a musical note it was used as organ & piano keys (it doesn’t warp) & even some musical instruments were made from it. The inner bark (bast) was once twisted to make ropes, a very long drawn out process I understand!


    1. yes it has to be Ash for you! Did think of keeping an eye on a local one for fear of the dreaded dieback but they are too tall to see the details. Fascinating hobby you’ve taken up – no wonder you know so much about the timber.


  4. A lime year! That will be interesting. I was thinking of giving the “tree following” a break, but now I’m thinking I might link in occasionally with posts about my potted Meyer Lemon. It has been quite an adventure caring for it. Might be worthy of a few “tree following” posts. Your photos of the London trees are beautiful. I have fond memories of the beautiful tree-lined streets in London.


  5. I’m glad you will be posting about lime trees. When I first saw the name I was surprised, but then I figured out that they aren’t THAT kind of lime tree 🙂 I look forward to learning more.


  6. I am way out of my element here, but nonetheless look forward to learning a lot as the months progress! This is my first attempt at following a tree, and your list of recommendations aided me in choosing the jacaranda in my garden, so we shall see how it goes!


  7. I love lime trees, they are the trees of my childhood, each one of our houses – new built on the site of the old vicarage – had one at the bottom of the garden. Ours was the local most climeable tree, and I spent many a happy hour sat right at the very (pollarded) top, reading, and bringing up food and drink delivered via basket and rope by my ever-patient mother. Who must, in retrospect, have battled heart attacks each time I scampered up to such a height!! Lovely choice and I look forward to watching them burst into leaf and render all around sticky.


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