Filed under Gardens

Fond Memories

I can’t leave you with ‘My Oak Tree‘ looking in such a sorry state so I leave you on a happier note with one of my posts for Vision & Verb:

From Little Acorns


My Oak Tree

I often take photographs of what I refer to as ‘My Oak Tree’.  Of course the old oak tree isn’t mine, it is part of nature.  The tree isn’t even in my garden; it is in the garden beyond the bridle path that runs behind my house.  I am very fond of the tree and it provides beauty and interest throughout each of the seasons of the year.  It is now so large that its branches completely span the bridle path and reach into the back corner of my garden.

A recent comment on my blog mentioned that it was a shame about the ivy growing on the trunk because it would kill the tree.  I used to think that too but, since I first thought that several years ago, the tree has grown around 10 feet (3.048 meters) and I noticed many trees in Shropshire sharing their space with ivy so I have dismissed the idea.

After the recent blog comment I decided to check the facts. I found that ivy is not a parasite and it does not kill the tree. The aerial roots are not penetrative and the ivy’s roots are firmly in the ground beneath the tree.  The relationship between tree and ivy is symbiotic.  The ivy attracts wildlife so the oak tree is always full of life. Visitors to my tree include blue tits, great tits, coal tits, wrens, sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons, insects and, on one memorable occasion, a poplar hawk-moth descended and settled on me just above my waist.  This was quite alarming because poplar hawk-moths are quite large (wingspan 65-90 mm).  Luckily it didn’t flap around like moths normally do; it just glided in and came to rest gently.  It was coaxed off me and went to settle inside the kitchen for a short time before going back to its natural habitat outside.

I have both memories and photos of beautiful sunsets through the branches of the tree and of sitting in the garden watching the sun go down.  Of hearing the leaves rustle in the wind watching the seasons go by.  Of the rebirth of the leaves and buds in spring, the green of summer, the autumnal hues followed by the winter view.  The weather in autumn determines how quickly the dead leaves fall from the tree; in some years the winter view is bare branches or, in others, there is a golden glow throughout winter due to the leaves not falling from the branches.

I have always had a fondness for trees because of many childhood walks where my dad encouraged me to identify different trees by their bark and leaves. I have got a bit rusty on tree identification since then but I still enjoy woodland walks and immersing myself in the beauty of magnificent trees and the wildlife they attract.

15th April 2012

19 Comments CherryPie on May 29th 2015

19 Responses to “Fond Memories”

  1. Amfortas says:

    A tree such as that is like an old grand-dad. His presence was always there. Old hairy grand-dads occasionally have small creatures in their hair and beards too :) and moths in their wallets.

    But a hair cut and shave, even a spell in hospital getting odd bits trimmed off, can give a new lease of life. Your tree may delight you later in the year with fresh, vibrant foliage. I hope so.

    • CherryPie says:

      I hope it does grow back. I have noticed that some of the wildlife has come back today which is nice :-)

      It has caused a bit of a mess in the corner of our garden. Some honeysuckle which must have been hanging over the branch and the fence seems to have collapsed into our garden. I have done a bit of work on it but now the green bin is full. It is interesting that it was only a couple of weeks ago when we talked about reworking that area of the garden when we replace the shed. Which now it is not protected by the tree, is more urgent.

  2. wiggia says:

    Cherry you are correct with your analysis of Ivy and this is as good an explanation as any…………
    http://www.arborecology.co.uk/article_forf.htm
    There is one proviso, ivy will not exclude light to the tree crown in normal circumstances as explained in the link, it is only a problem with thin cover trees like Ash when it can reach the crown and take light from the tree.
    The other time it can do that is in a case like your oak, when the crown cover has been removed leaving nothing to stop the ivy colonising the upper crown areas and in a case like that ivy removal would be prudent.

  3. Tree identification is a fun thing to do!
    We did it at school in Malaysia too.
    Funnily in Geography not Biology. ;)

  4. ....peter:) says:

    i have come to love your mighty oak and these seasonal scenes are a great tribute to it… on the bright side… it will fill back in faster than you think….peter:)

    i have a collage in the archives of an oak tree in a park in Ottawa… here is the link…
    http://petermeilleur.shutterchance.com/image/2010/08/21/the-old-oak-tree/

    i went back and got a winter shot with snow on the ground a few years later….peter:)

    • CherryPie says:

      I love my mighty oak too, even now :-) And thank you for sharing your Ottawa oak :-)

      The trimming has changed the whole aspect of my garden. It looks much bigger and the lighting is different… Before it was dappled and subtle and now the light is bright and everything looks sort of flat…

  5. That is a nice piece of writing; I didn’t see it first time round – I don’t think we had “found each other” then! I would not contradict an expert, of course. Purely as a lay observer, I have experienced ivy stifling trees; take the ivy off – and, if you can, kill it – and the tree recovers.

    • CherryPie says:

      Thanks Mike, I am glad you enjoyed my writing :-)

      If you have read my comments section you will have seen the comment from Wiggia who is an expert on these things. His comment and link explain in detail the effects of ivy in relation to trees.

  6. Alan says:

    The oak has to typify England. It’s a shame what has happened to it but I’m sure that its inhabitants will find new abodes elsewhere.

    • CherryPie says:

      There are plenty of other trees nearby. The houses on my estate are in among an established network of bridle paths with lots of trees bordering them.

      • amfortas says:

        I would imagine that all the horse poo would have some impact on the fecundity of the soil.

        • CherryPie says:

          I hadn’t thought of that. We don’t normally get horses on there now although there was one occasion and it quite took me by surprise. Though it was not as surprising as the first time I heard a tractor driving along at the bottom of my house. I wondered what the noise was and I after a few minutes I saw a hedge-cutter trimming the top of the hedge!!

  7. J_on_tour says:

    I sense your passion for trees and nature from your background.

  8. lordsomber says:

    The Men’s Lodge is home to many white oak, pine and magnolia, as well as ivy, kudzu and wisteria. Alas, a massive old oak that had to be at least 12 feet in circumference had to be felled due to disease.
    But in the tree’s stump life lives on, as a host to chipmunks as well as the “weeping conk.”

    http://pungeon.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-conk-she-weeps.html

    • CherryPie says:

      It is always sad when a tree has to be felled. I used to worry in case this one caught sudden oak death which means compulsory felling to stop the disease spreading. I never dreamed the owner would have it cut back (it has a tree preservation order placed on it).

      The ‘weeping conk’ looks rather pretty in its own right :-)