Tree Following 2015: Imperceptible

Gardeners in the UK are being advised that a plague of slugs and snails awaits our plants this year due to a warm, wet winter, and for added drama the carnivorous Spanish slug will be joining the melee.1 Nevertheless seasonal changes are definitely more retarded than 2014, by about 2-3 weeks.

And all this means is that the Limes of Tavistock Square that I am observing remain virtually unchanged which makes for short and sweet blog post this time around.

1-P1070877First impressions of the Lindens is a little like visiting an amputee ward – pollarded each year to keep their size and shade shadow down to urban walk proportions, they show their wounds with bare-faced bravura, each displaying a uniqueness of form in the linear assemblage. Even the younger replacements, Tilia platyphollus ‘Streetwise’ have been cut back to the main stem, and these can be recognised by their slimmer forms, tree supports and watering spouts – the digitally pencilled images make it easier to spot them in the crowds!1-2015-03-12

The older limes are Tilia × europaea hybrids – its hard to tell their age and they look like geriatrics because of the stunted, gnarled trunks and the continuing bark damage by pest of virus, insect or rodent. A closer look at the effects of pollarding shows what a rough and ready amputation it is but yet from such gnarly mounds, glorious emerald foliage will sprout. Meanwhile it’s just the closed red buds of a leaf in waiting.1-2015-03-121

1-Starred Photos6“Outstanding red winter shoot colour” is the blurb on the T. platyphollus hybrids but these ‘Streetwise’ youth are not displaying much, although there are some striking bark textures, from pitted plum to grey velvet, with marbling in between.

I had wondered if the effects of pollarding was to put back the growth season of the Lindens but looking around Tavistock Square, there are also tight leaf buds on Plane trees, Ash and Hornbeam hedge. Only the Hazels have burst a leaf or two and of course the early blossoming cherry plums are a sight to behold.
1-P1070914 As Gandhi has said: “there is more to life than increasing its speed”. And so I await the Spring with more patience. Other creatures seem eager to get on with things though and this blackbird looks to be primed and ready:

Bring on the slugs!
Bring on the slugs!

1. Friend or Foe: spotting the new garden pests

Tree Following with Lucy: There’s a link box on Loose and Leafy on 7th of the month for 7 days. Every month!


8 thoughts on “Tree Following 2015: Imperceptible

  1. Oh my! The Spanish slug! Sorry to hear your gardens will be battling a bumper crop of pests this season. I just found out about a new Viburnum pest that has me worried. That pollarding looks so dramatic. It’s a common technique in the southern U.S., too, for Crape Myrtle trees. It doesn’t make sense to me, but some people swear by it. Good thing you have blackbirds on the ready for all the slugs. 😉


    1. so many new pests – getting stronger and fitter it seems 😮 Pollarding is a medieval practice akin to top-notch bonsai! Its a skill not best left to the crepe murdering chainsawers 😈


  2. I’ve been looking forward to seeing how your trees progressed since last month. They’re very interesting, to say the least. Regarding Beth’s comment, I’ve also seen our local Crape Myrtle trees sawed to the bare bones. I’ve always thought it was a terrible thing to do to them, as just a little pruning will keep them looking quite nice. As for your trees, guess we’ll have to wait til next month!


    1. appreciate your interest but so little to show again this month. Pollarding is a pragmatic approach to trees for the sake of peope/shade/ etc but gather it can also extend the life of a tree if done properly – I do like the umbelliferous effect it produces though – wait til early summer and see what I mean 🙂


    1. oh Kate I do empathise and am sure you must have a bad dose of cabin fever by now – we did not have any snow this year but plenty of wet and overcast days. Even today’s eclipse was blotted out by cloud here in London – but here comes the sun for all of us very soon 😎

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