Tuesday, 19 May 2020


The Birch next door. Usefully in a sauna.

Many of us, in spite of the crisis, have been enjoying the weather, the trees, gardens, parks and land around us.  

The other week my painting tutor gave me an exercise. I was to paint some trees. I cast around for some subjects and found these four on my doorstep. Remarkably I had been walking past them each day for twenty-eight years and never really appreciated their beauty.

And each tree has a back-story.

Weeping Cherry. My thanks to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with their piece eight things you probably did not know about weeping cherry trees. These include 
Their blossoms change colours; many are dark pink when in bud, lighter pink when they first blossom, and then eventually pale pink or white. 
They make fruit. Though these trees were bred for flowers, not fruit, some do produce small cherries, which appear during the summer. They’re too sour for us to eat, but birds love them.
Next door but one.

Wisteria which is growing next door; this species is native to China, Korea, Japan, and the Eastern United States. The Wisteria has been widely used in Japan art throughout the centuries and was a popular symbol on family crests and heraldry. There is a popular dance in kabuki, the Fuji Musume or The Wisteria Maiden
Japanese Maple, acer palmatum has been cultivated in Japan for centuries, the first specimen of this tree reached Britain in 1820. Japanese horticulturalists have long developed cultivars from maples found in Japan and nearby Korea and China. They are a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts. 

The good old Birch tree; birch-tar or Russian oil extracted from birch bark is thermoplastic and waterproof; it was used as glue in making arrows. Fragrant twigs of birches are used in saunas to relax the muscles – enough of that!

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim