Friday, 2 March 2012

Tree Follower - Plane Update

I embarked on my ‘tree following’ year at the beginning of February with a few less than acceptable images. It has only been time, or the lack of it, that has stopped me from adding another more acceptable post. Finally however, I've made it down to the tree and spent a little more time taking photographs in an attempt to show this tree as it appears to me. For those of you new to tree following, especially if you’d like to take part yourself; more information can be found on the link to Lucy Corrander’s blog at the bottom of this post, where Lucy has kindly offered to promote tree following and post links about your tree following too.

Compton Verney, London Plane, Platanus × acerifolia.
Becoming a tree follower, to give a basic explanation, is where you select a tree that is special to you and quite simply blog about it once or more often. Anyone with an appreciation
 for trees will understand immediately why this is such a great idea. All trees change massively as they mature, and whilst many share familiar family shapes and forms, they are always unique and often have a story attached to them - however simple it may be. Choose a tree that is special to you, for whatever reason, and simply tell everyone about it on your blog. Believe me, choosing one single tree isn’t as easy as it sounds, as I said once before - I was like a kid in a sweet shop!

Platanus x acerifolia, with a touch of what I'm lead to
believe is Diploicia canescens lichen, showing
as grey patches. Compton Verney.
Trees are survivors, spending many years growing, and giving, before slipping steadily into old age. Differing environments create weird and wonderful trees, which in turn offer so much to the world we live in. Burrowing animals are kept snug beneath solid roots, hollow stems keep bats safe from harm, and branches support lichen, moss, birds nests, squirrel drey’s and so on. As trees grow, we see them twist and turn in search of light, their shoots and foliage giving clues to their happiness. Trees can re-grow from the worst damage, can be manipulated into all manner of shapes, and offer so much to us all – just think of timber used in construction, wood for fuel and furniture. Think of trees providing oxygen, food, shelter and blossom – how our insects rely on tree blossom. I could go on – trees are truly incredible.
My chosen tree is a London Plane. It was originally planted to accompany one of the most beautiful bridges in Warwickshire. Both the tree and bridge combine to enhance one of the classic and frequently photographed views of Compton Verney. As the lawn descends to the waters edge, seen below, the Plane is perfectly placed for its straight stem and arching branches to frame the scene, also adding a vertical and interesting element to the picture. A cluster of smaller trees confuse the scene a little, but an imaginative gardener can 'erase' these in their minds eye and picture the scene as I think it was intended. The Plane tree itself may not have been originally planted by Brown in the 1770's, as its girth doesn’t appear large enough. The tree has however been selected by someone with Lancelot in mind, for he is known to have used plane trees in similar water side situations.
Mansion view as intended, confused only by the anachronistic smaller trees;
a lovely walnut, crab apple and yew shrub. The mansion is seen in the
background framed nicely by the Plane tree.
Looking a little closer, the stems of the maturing trees possess a mottled effect to the bark which lifts away in patches leaving greens, greys, browns and yellows; this bark shedding tendency is believed to help the trees survive in urban situations, where pollution build up can be shrugged off by shedding bark regularly. Focusing on the colours of the bark, it does so closely resemble the reflective qualities of the lake surface, which could well explain its use so often in lakeside situations - at least there it can spread its branches freely.

Bark as shed over winter.

London Plane at Compton Verney.
I shall slow up on my ramblings for now, as the more I focus the more interesting the tree is becoming! It's surprising what history and interest lies beneath the surface when you really start to delve deeper. I havent yet spoke of the winter buds which are quietly developing, or the globular seed heads that are dispersing gradually - known also to cause havoc to hayfever sufferers!

Thanks for reading, do have a look over at Lucy's blog and join in with some tree following too, or keep in touch and follow my Plane along with me. I'm happy to try and answer any questions you may have.
Lucy Corrander - Tree Following
Compton Verney
Tree Location


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

It's a lovely post. (I've put a link from my blog.) The picture looking up into the bare branches. That's exactly how it is when you stand at the foot of a tree.

Gardener Gary said...

Thanks Lucy, i'll be trying hard to capture the spirit of the tree. Its so nice to write about, quite enjoy it! Thanks for the link.

Tree Service Queens said...

The first photo instantly caught my eye. Is this the type of tree you are following? Its size is amazing...

-Oscar Valencia

Gardener Gary said...

Yes that is the very tree itself. It is quite a large tree in itself, but the size looks a touch bigger due to the angle of the photo. An amazing tree indeed!