Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Monday, 17 February 2014

ELDERBERRY - TREE FOLLOWING

The Elderberry tree I may switch to.           Februay 11th 2014
I first began following 'my' hedgerow elderberry tree in December 2008. In theory, I later moved on to a sycamore (about which more in another post). In practice, I've never left it.

This was before I ever thought others might want to do something similar and, with what may seem an odd sort of precision, I didn't follow the tree so much as a point on it where several leaf buds were forming - just that one place. Before long, it was impossible to see it. In the autumn, when the tree shed its leaves, there it was again. In the meantime, I was following something almost invisible and in shade. So I switched to another leaf bud on another tree in the same little group - which was also often in shade and produced the smallest leaves on the whole tree. The next year, the leaves there were a bit bigger. Then the branch broke off. Hmm.

Ivy berries on the original elderberry tree.
February 13th 2014
And, over this time, I found myself more hooked on the ivy that is gradually taking it over than the tree itself. Ivy, it turns out, is absolutely gripping. Its flowers have no petals. In the autumn they look like fireworks. Hoverflies can't leave them alone. The berries change from green to brown to black - then they drop seeds. How many of us have thought to look for ivy seeds? Sometimes, when my head is in a bush, people stop and ask me what I'm looking at. If it's a butterfly they are pleased. If it's a hole in a leaf, less so. If it's ivy flowers - they are stunned. Hardly anyone, it seems, has ever thought to look out for ivy flowers. That they don't even look like flowers adds to the . . . well, it's like being in a detective story.

And I've been hooked by the lichen on it too - lichen which is sometimes orange and sometimes yellow and sometimes green - depending on the weather.

Because there is more light around the new elderberry,
I'd be following 'new' plants beneath it too.   Feb. 16th 2014
Meanwhile, the elderberry itself goes under-observed. So, this year, I'm thinking I might 'do' elderberry again - but a tree which is better lit and less ivy clad. With this tree, we may have more of a chance of seeing flowers before they are lopped off by the machines which the council sends to keep branches back from the path. Of course, branches may fall off of their own accord. This is not a new and supple tree. But we've had such strong winds recently and this tree is so very exposed, I'm hoping anything naturally loose will already have fallen off.

We'd see the flowers.

We'd see the berries.

Lichen and leaf shoots on the 'new' elderberry tree.           February 16th 2014

Not that I'll be able to resist the lichen.

We'll see.
* * *

To find out about tree following, read the first post in this series. Holm Oak - Quercus ilex - Tree Following.

If you too will be following a tree this year, do add your name and blog into the linky box below. At the moment, we're simply building a list of people taking part. (For the growing list - see the Tree Following page at the top of the blog.)

If you have already added your name to the list and now have a tree-following post to announce - use the linky for that too. Come the beginning of March, we'll have a formal tape-cutting post. After that, we'll have a linky box once a month. For the moment though, I'm putting a new one at the end of every post so there are lots of opportunities for people to join in.

I'm Following a Tree
If you would like to use the Tree Following motif, feel free to use it on your blog.

Janet at Plantaliscious has introduced her hawthorn. You can read about it in her post Juggling with Trees
And read about Lucy's Common Alder on her blog Alder & Ash.
And at Flighty's Plot - What Willow?
To see the growing list of Tree Followers - click here.
Duncan is reviving his blog Duncan's Wild Garden specially to follow a tree!
The current linky box is with the post for February 21st.

9 comments:

Esther Montgomery said...

I'm hoping to follow a tree in my garden. I haven't decided yet whether it will be my golden bay or my espaliered apple. I've put my blog URL in the linky to let you know I'm joining in. When I've written a tree following post I'll put that URL in the box too. Is that right?

flightplot said...

I've done a Tree following 2014 post today. Flighty xx

elaine said...

I think I have decided on the Prunus (Ornamental Cherry) in my garden unfortunately I don't know its name as it was already here when we moved in - the colour of the blossom is very brash (you need sunglasses to look at it) but it does look spectacular when in full bloom.

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

I enjoyed reading about how it all began Lucy! I am looking forward to reading about all these trees as people come on board, it is such a lovely idea.

Wildgardener said...

Look forward to hearing about your elder. Ours here seem to still be asleep, sadly.

Rosie Nixon said...

Count me in this year. I've so overdue doing a tree post but I'll be documenting my Silver Pear Tree. I started to do the french pruning technique last year, took photos and have never shared any of them. I'll get writing a post soon and link in.

PlantPostings said...

This is a wonderful idea! I'm so glad you reminded me, and it will be fun to compare notes about our trees around the world.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Esther an apple or a bay would be great.

Hello Flighty. Thanks for letting us know about your willow-tree-following post.

Hello Elaine. Then you can be certain you will have bright pictures for your blog when the cherry blossom starts!

Hello Janet - yes, it's all beginning to come together. And the more people who join in the more interesting it will be. (It's 20th Feb. today and we are up to twenty-three.)

Hello Wildgardener. I think I've read somewhere else about elderberry trees still having their leaf buds shut - but round here they are definitely opening.

Hello Rosie. Looking forward to reading about your silver pear. (Almost hoping you'll have a silver nutmeg to go with it!)

Hello Plantpostings. That's a point. Perhaps I should range a little into the realms of blogs unknown (to me) and see if we can widen the range of countries represented.

Donna said...

Looks like lots of folks are tree following this year and I am looking forward to reading all the tree posts...loved learning about how it all began.