What a difference a few feet makes – tree following, June

I’m about to go away – garden sitters have been briefed and shown where the watering cans are – so I’ve been rushing about. We’ve also had some seriously odd weather, as have most of us, so what with that and the rushing, I’ve not been near my hawthorn.

I had hoped to get up there and catch the opening of the blossom. I thought, you see, that it would be fading by 7 June, and anyway I’ll be away then. But I only made it up there yesterday, and I found this:

hawthorn

Not exactly covered, is it? Was it, perhaps, over? I walked round to the other side and approached the tree. No, not over – many buds were still to open. Some flowers which had opened were damaged, but most were still firmly shut.

blossom

The ones which were open were attracting attention from flying things which zipped past me, helped no doubt by the sudden increase in temperature (from single figures to the giddy height of 14 degrees, mind – I was still in my fleece and walking boots).

hawthorn blossom

Those flowers which were open were also a bit battered, or looking rather hesitant and fragile.

I turned round and was really surprised. Though ‘my’ tree is the largest and oldest of the hawthorns up here by the dolmen, it is surrounded by others. It is also a tiny bit higher than the others, and that – I assume – is probably the main reason why the others looked like this:

another hawthorn

Is it snow, or is it blossom? While mine looked like this:

where's the blossom?

It’s not age, or I don’t think it is – because my followed tree has plenty to come. It’s just not doing it yet. It’s waiting, still doing the equivalent of wearing  fleece and walking boots. It’s not casting a clout either.

And in the meanwhile its neighbours are amazing:

hawthorns

It’s supposed to be warming up significantly this weekend, so I am hoping that the venerable hawthorn I’ve decided to follow will catch up – but the only significant difference between it and its fellows is a few feet in altitude. And when I say ‘a few feet’, it’s maybe two feet – just as exposed, but that little bit higher. And the trees on the landward side of the lane, which are another couple of feet higher up still, are in the same state as my tree. It would never have occurred to me that such an apparently insignificant difference could have such an impact among so close a bunch of neighbours.

Wildlife? Well, no goats this time, and no sheep either – they’ve been moved higher up. The usual ravens shouting their heads off, buzzards circling high above and calling … and the deeper call of, could it be, a peregrine? Then I spotted the peregrine’s unmistakeable flight pattern and shape, and watched it for a few minutes before it shot downwards like a guided missile and disappeared out of view, Rabbit, possibly. Plenty of those about.

And the wildflowers are benefitting from the sheep move too. The bluebells are still out up here; yellow tormentil is starting to speckle the grass; the foxgloves are heading skywards and there are some small umbellifers. I get almost as confused with umbellifers as I do with ferns, so I’m throwing this one open:

any guesses?

Could be any one of about twelve things, I think. Short (could be the conditions), small – flowerhead about 5cm across, max, generally less. Pretty, undoubtedly.

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4 thoughts on “What a difference a few feet makes – tree following, June

  1. Island Threads

    Kate, I am as surprised as you that a couple of feet in height could make such a difference, I know the same plant in different parts of my garden behave differently but I put that down to conditions and aspect, this is just the sort of reason a like tree following, noticing the details,
    have a lovely time away, Frances

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      It’s the only thing I could think of – they’re all apparently equally exposed and one of the neighbours is probably as old as the tree I follow. Presumably that little difference in height means it is just that tiny bit more vulnerable to the winds. Interestingly, it seems to apply to the bluebells too. Down in the woods – lower, much more sheltered, cover – they’re over. Up here, oh, two seconds away as the raven flies, they’re just getting going. Though that could also be sheep-related.

      I’m sure I’ll have a great time – coming your way: well, more northern. Shetland.

      Reply
  2. Janet/Plantaliscious

    Weird! Clearly yours knows you are going away and decided to save itself for your return.. Have a fab time, and hopefully the weather will calm down a little and decide to go all summery after all. Preferably without the gales..

    PS will you have enough room for all your woolly and other textiles purchases, I wonder?!!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Strange, isn’t it? A mystery, unless you can think of anything more plausible…

      (Just back. Wool has been bought. Suitcase intact, but almost broke weight restrictions. Thank you, check in staff at Sumburgh!)

      Reply

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