Until July 2017, 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! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Monday, 4 May 2015


View across Weymouth Seafront from the Nothe Steps at 2015 Kite Festival

I'm beginning to regret my choice of tree. Not only did the coffee shop which had been a strong factor in my choice of location close, and not only is it a bit further from home than truly convenient, and not only am I still unclear what it is . . . . the light vanishes whenever I arrive to look at it.

In other months I've been largely to blame because I didn't properly allow for winter evenings drawing in as early as they do. Once we're past January I think we've hit summer and am a bit put out when forced to acknowledge we haven't got there yet.

But this time it was morning. No rain had been forecast and it was sunny when I set out. So what went wrong? Only that by the time I got there a mist had come in from the sea. That's what! The trees had started to drip. It was the Weymouth Kite Festival and the view from my tree should have been of the beach, the sea and colourful kites against a bright blue sky. You can see the actual view in the picture above. If you concentrate, you can see massive kites floating, sperm-like, in the murk.

Tree in Nothe Gardens. May 3rd 2015

Another reason I'm regretting my choice of tree is that it's right by where cars park and beside a path where people walk. What did I expect at the entrance to a park? Well, I didn't think, did I? And as I don't like cars or people in my pictures it makes photographing the tree problematic.

Flaking bark with lichen and reddish wood below

And as for the question of what it is. It seems too short for a sycamore and the dangly bits don't look right for the stalks of helicopter seeds; and the bark seems too flaky; and the wood a bit too red - even given that it was wet when I took this picture of the lichen that had lost its yellowness and turned slimy and green in the damp.

What with the light being muzzed up by mist, and the mist dripping drops on my lens, and a breeze shivering the branches and the sun positioning itself in an inconvenient place (again) . . . it was hard to take a proper picture of the leaves.

Leaves and branches against grey, misty sky.There were red blobs which might have been sticky buds and the unfurling leaves looked as if they might be horse-chestnut . . . but the flowers were pointing down. Conker-tree flowers stick up - like candles.
By next month all should be clear. It'll probably turn out to be something dead ordinary - like a cabbage.

Did I say 'ordinary'? There's no such thing as 'ordinary'.

By the trunk was the carapace (about four inches long) of what may have been a Spiny Spider Crab. (I was going to give you a link to an image of what it might have looked like when it was alive but the image I found clicked through to an article about Arsene Wenger and The Arsenal Football Club. I tried for a recipe but got what looked like half a baked potato so I gave up on interesting spiny spider crab pictures.)

And nearby, to console me for all the mist and dead crabs and slimy lichen and the ignominy of not knowing the identity of what will turn out to be a perfectly obvious tree (though not quite making up for the absence of a coffee shop) . . . . dandelions.

Flowering dandelions at top of Nothe Steps, Weymouth

Why are we following trees? Shall we follow dandelions instead? (Perhaps another year!)

The Loose and Leafy Tree Following Link Box
will open at 7am on Thursday 7th
and stay open till 7pm on the 14th (UK Time)


Gardens at Waters East said...

Enjoy reading about you and your tree troubles for this posting. Jajajajajajj. I know you may not like having people in the photos, but having people in a photo is important for perspective. They help the human eye get an idea of dimensions on the things in the photo. So, enjoy the people even if they get in the way of the tree! Jack

Simon Leather said...

Definitely an Acer of some sort so probably a sycamore

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Jack. I know what you mean about perspective etc. But it's not for the sake of making pictures look good that I avoid showing people. It's because I don't like to intrude on their privacy by taking their pictures without permission then publishing them on the internet. Ditto with car registration numbers. Indeed, I have a feeling there's a rule / law about publishing registration numbers - even shop signs with familiar logos. I've tried blurring faces and numbers in my photos but I'm useless at this and can only make horrible, horrible blodges instead. I do find this a problem and would like to take photographs of street scenes. Perhaps I should not be so fussy. Its's an uncomfortable restriction. On the other hand it's one of the reasons I got into plant photography. (I used to be best at urban pictures.) But with this photo I made an exception because the four walkers have their backs to the camera.

Hello Simon. Agreed - but am likely to be disappointed if it is because for several years I followed a huge sycamore in a wood.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lucy, thanks for adding me on the tree following page! I am really enjoying this project. What is it that you need translated into German? I might do that.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a sycamore to me, Lucy. The bark can get flaky - that confused me at first as I used to think that sycamore had smooth bark, which it does when it's younger..
This reminds me - got to go check out my tree-following sycamore..

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Felix - it was the message I left on your blog! I thought it would be polite to write it in German, at least for the first comment, because your blog is in German. But as I didn't find someone with time to translate I'll have to stick to English. Apologies.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Maria. Your tree was further ahead last month than mine is even now! That's one of the interesting things about this project. Which reminds me. Would you like a location to be added to your entry on the Tree Following Page?

Alison Levey said...

I'm not sure about following dandelions, I think I am being pursued by them. Everywhere I look there they are.

Flighty said...

I enjoyed this post, and indeed sympathise with your dilemma. There were several trees one of which I would have chosen to follow this year had I known what they were. I think that it's worth looking out for one during the year to follow the next year. Flighty xx

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Alison. I'm a dandelion fan. They are so very smile-making. If you're going to be pursued by a flower, I couldn't think of a better one; a bright yellow disc, easy to care for, interestingly shaped leaves of a refreshing and spring-like green nearly all year round.

Hi Mike. I'm still not sure whether to stick with my choice. There's much to say about its location so it could be the basis for some good reads . . . but the distance etc. (I'm being wimpish!)

liz said...

Oh, Lucy, you are so funny and such a joy to read! What a shame that the coffee shop closed, but the dandelions are very cheerful. Your location for your tree with people and cars around reminds me of The Lexington [Kentucky] Cemetery. It is a designated arboretum and is a lovely place to visit. Lots of other people feel the same way, so it's hard to get a photo w/out a car or person in view.

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

Oh dear, it's sod's law isn't it?! Following dandelions would be easier at the moment seeing as they popping up everywhere!!

Hollis said...

Well, now you' ve done it. I will never be able to look at kites now without thinking of sperm ;-) I like your wet tree trunk with complementary red bark and green lichen.

Anonymous said...

The mist is rather atmospheric, I like it.
I agree it's almost certainly an Acer. I am looking at young sycamores in my garden as I type.
But hopefully yours is some other subtle sort. In which case good luck identifying the species! We have lots of different Acers here in the parks and on the streets and every one of them seems to me to be a different species.
I love all your pictures - love the bark, love the carapace, love the dandelions. Love all your blog, really!
All the best :)

Down by the sea said...

What a shame that the mist had appeared. That would have been such a colourful scene with the kites, hopefully next month the sun will be shining. The sea mist was thick on the top of the cliffs but the harbour was in full sunshine! Sarah x

Lea said...

We are all at the mercy of the weather. Thanks for the chuckle!

Caroline Gill said...

So sorry about the mist! Living near an estuary (12 rivers in Suffolk) we often start off bright but the minute there's a touch of warmth, the clouds build and the heat dissipates. I'm just wondering if our new trees are related. Do look at your 4th photo alongside my 1st pic. from last month here. I'm not saying *the same* ... as I note differences in the bark etc., though mine is barely more than a teenage tree!

Angie said...

I wonder if you'll look back on this post and take back what you've said Lucy :)
What a shame the mist was there when you arrived. That kite flying looks like fun. I'm no good at identifying trees so can't even hazzard a guess I'm afraid.

Anna said...

I wonder what your tree is Lucy. We have a sycamore in close proximity but I'm not sure exactly where it is. I know it's nearby because there are lots of baby sycamores in the garden. I wish that I had chosen a different tree too but for different reasons :)

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Sperm kites! That's a new one... I am so sorry about your cafe closing, mine has finally opened! Dandelion following, now that would be a doddle, I have a large colony in my back garden. Intellectually I know that if I leave them in the lawn because I like the cheerfulness of all that bright yellow they will seed and spread into the borders where they will be impossible to remove without digging up plants too. And yet, I still don't pick the heads off while they are still yellow... Glad to hear I am not alone in preferring to photograph nature without people or cars. Though I agree you have given yourself something of a challenge in that department. And why isn't it summer yet! Not that I want the heat, not real heat, but I could cope with gardening in a T shirt and eating breakfast outside.

Anonymous said...

sorry if I smiled Lucy but you have a way of telling with good humour, the vicissitudes of your tree following p.s. you also make dandelions beautiful

Donna said...

Oh that is not nice...bad weather and the coffee shop closing...best laid plans are always thwarted it seems. I am trying to keep my tree from being deer food as it is so young.

But I would rather eat than follow the dandelions...we had such hot weather that they all bloomed in the hundreds and before I could pull at least half for salad.