So here it is, in all its June splendour. Just (finally) coming into leaf. Our little walnut (species unknown). I became wildly enthusiastic about Lucy’s Tree Following at ‘Loose and Leafy’ in November last year and decided to follow this little tree in our garden. (I often experience these enthusiasms, then promptly lose the plot).
My first post is here, at my old blog on Weebly. It looked quite angelic standing in the midst of the clothes it had just dropped (although it seemed to take me a couple of month’s of blogging about it to twig that Lucy calls her meme ‘tree following’, not ‘tree watching’ – maybe that was the root of my ‘follow-through’ problem?).
My mission was clear: we have five walnuts in the garden. Two mature and three small. I wanted to determine their species, but the clues were confusing. One, probably two, small trees are for the chop in the near future. Sadly, I think the little walnut I am following may be one of the two. I’m thinking to replace it with a red oak, Quercus rubra, I bought last winter, heeled in in a nursery bed at the moment.
It seems a little sad, but five walnuts is too many for a half-acre garden. And I prefer its sister walnut (below) for the multi-stems – more interesting? As you can see the second youngster is only just (on 10 June) coming into leaf. Each year since we moved here in September 2011 we have imagined it dead. But it just teases …
I abandoned blogging about the walnuts back in February, when I realised that they were going to be looking boringly similar for months on end (even to my eye – and they are my walnuts).
Now I’m back. Although there’s a problem. My mission was to positively identify the species of all five and I even found a walnut key on Dendrology.org, which I posted as a link in my February post. However I forgot that there would be lots of nettles around the mature trees at this time of year. I have to get my trousers on first thing in the morning and wade down to do the ids and take the pictures. So far I’ve been just too busy (or lazy) for words. And it’s a long way back up to the house to don the trousers when it dawns on you what you’ve got to do!
So now it seems that the plot will thicken for another month – and the leaf ident will be left for my July post, when I’ll also share Nick’s pickled walnut recipe.
Below is my favourite tree of all the five walnuts. I love it’s shape, the mysterious patterns the branches make in the dappled light down by the river, and rusty greens of the emerging leaves.
Sitting and ‘following’ it with a bottle of water when it’s hot has been a real joy. Nick insists that this is Juglans nigra, but the shape seems wrong to me, more like Juglans regia. All (hopefully) will be revealed next month!
On the day when I should have been rushing back to the house for the trousers, Ella and I were planting geraniums around the young shrubs in the Hornbeam Gardens. It was hot – we rested in the shade briefly and she did a lot of panting. Unusual in a cat – but then she’s rather a terrier-like cat. Now I’m faced with endlessly watering them in the heat we’ve been experiencing. Sometimes I regret saying better the ground than a pot … On that particularly day it was the elders in garden that were really catching my attention. During the winter I planted a lovely cultivar called ‘Black Lace’ in the same border that the geraniums have just gone into. I hope that one day it looks as lovely as the mature shrubs here. Did you know that elder is said to keep away the devil? At the moment I’m just dreaming of making elderflower champagne, wine, or a cordial. There’s never enough time. But here is a link to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for what looks like a very nice cordial. Finally – perhaps you can help with another mystery? Below is a picture of a wonderful flower that a friend gave me. I now laughingly call it the ‘not’ hemerocallis – because it’s not, is it dear friend and gardener? Personally, I think it is Hemerocallis citrina. Known as ‘Long Yellow Day Lily’ and apparently cultivated in Asian for its edible flowers. Can you end our discussion? Just wondering … Now do pop over to
Lucy's Loose & Leafy Tree Following and have a look at the trees everyone else is following.