It’s the first full day of winter and just three days before Christmas – you’d think everyone here in Canada would be out frolicking in the snow or skating on frozen ponds, wouldn’t you? Where I live, however, the weather experts say we have a white Christmas barely 40 per cent of the time. Sadly (for some), this year will likely be green, with a lot of grey and brown thrown in for good measure. Rain and plus nine yesterday, colder and cloudy today, a bit of snow tomorrow… up and down temperatures all week.
I went out in the drizzle yesterday afternoon to take some shots, looking for anything interesting, and realized that with almost all the leaves on the ground, I could really get up close and personal to tree trunks and admire the patterns on bark. So here are my Six. For other SOS’s, head on over to The Propagator’s site, where he hosts dozens and dozens of gardening Sixes from around the world.
#1 – Birch trees, of course. Betula papyrifera with its exfoliating bark, so effective in many garden situations. Two different trees, one in the garden about 12 years and the other two years; two different varieties, I believe.
#2 – More exfoliating bark, this time from the aptly named Ninebark –
Physocarpus opulifolius. This one isn’t one of the many red-leaved varieties, simply the common, native shrub. I really like the older branches that are covered in lichen (see the very top, ‘featured,’ photo.)
#3 – I’ve had this Corkscrew Hazel – Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ – for many years but it doesn’t get very big because the rabbits and deer seem to enjoy nibbling off the branch tips every winter. I really love the twisty bits though, when they manage to survive a winter or grow during the year.
#4 – There’s a ton of maple – Acer – saplings around the yard. I haven’t yet figured out if they’re Acer rubrum (I don’t think so) or Acer saccharum (most likely) but whichever, as a very young tree they have a delightfully mottled bark.
#5 – OK – I struggled to get six shots before the rain started again in earnest. I was going to take a snap of an urn bursting with freshly snipped Red Osier Dogwood twigs but that will have to wait. My fifth shot will be these small Hophornbeam trees – Ostrya virginiana – that I took earlier in December. These are typically smallish under-story trees, also called Ironwood because the wood is so strong it’s traditionally been used to fashion handles for axes and shovels and the like. In the spring it often produces masses of cream coloured flowers that look like a hops flower (although I’ve never heard of them being used to make beer…) and, the best part about them, I think, their leaves turn a delightful amber/gold colour in the fall. AND the leaves hang onto the tree throughout the fall and into the winter. Like these ones.
#6 – I’ve saved the best for last. I think, anyway. The trunk of a really old, moss covered, oak tree – Quercus rubra .