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
…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!