All posts from

April 2008



Spring has arrived

At long last, the long months of winter are almost over and the long days of summer are just around the corner! In Edinburgh, today was easily the best day of the year so far. The morning was summer-warm with a lovely clear sky. Proper shorts and t-shirt weather. The buds on many of the city trees are in the process of opening; on a walk into town today I noticed rowans, an alder and many shrubby trees I didn't recognise starting to unfurl their new leaves. Out of my bedroom window I can see an elder with many new leaves and a cherry tree beginning to budburst (even some white floweryness). But the two big ashes aren't showing any signs of greenery just yet.

Back home, the deciduous treeblog trees are showing a bit of green. The following photos were taken by my father on Sunday (March 30th) - Day 368.

buds opening on grey alder Number 4

The magnificent grey alder Number 4 is opening up its buds! And inside there are leaves!

close up of grey alder Number 4's opening buds

Feast your eyes on this close up view of the unfurlage.

mystery seedlings

And then the two tricksy seedlings that I noticed in the alder seed tray at Christmas and have been calling alders Numbers 6 and 7. Well, I said I had doubts about them, and look at those leaves. They are distinctly un-alderish. Actually, they don't look very birchy either, and I was thinking that's what they'd turn out to be. So at the moment, they're just mystery seedlings.

the full treeblog complement

Here's a rare treat: a view of the full treeblog line-up. From left to right on the bottom row: Alpha Scots pine; Beta Scots pine; the mystery seedlings; cider gum No. 13; and cider gum No. 14. The seed trays at the back contain the Set B nuts and seeds - there was no sign of any seedling emergence in these trays on Sunday (Set B Day 16). Behind the Scots pines are five round pots containing cider gums Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12, and a square pot containing grey alder No. 4. The small pots on the tray in the middle contain the rest of the cider gums and alders, and the fourth seed tray (centre right) contains non-treeblog lettuce seed.


Posted in The treeblog trees





Silver birch provenance trials: satellite photos

Why hello there. This post harnesses the power of Google Maps to bring you satellite photographs of the Thetford (posts here and here) and Drummond Hill (post here) silver birch provenance trials I collected data from for my dissertation. If the little Maps windows below don't work in your browser, perhaps you'll have better luck on Google's own Maps pages for Thetford and Drummond Hill. Two things. One, the satellite photos are a few years old. Obviously older than the Thetford trial, created in 2003, which is not yet in existance according to the satellite images. And two, as for the Drummond Hill photos... well, the resolution is so low that you can't make out where exactly the trial is anyway.


See that triangle-shaped patchy area in the centre? Well, go there today and you'll find Thetford's silver birch provenance trial. I guess the sat image shows the previous land use, which I reckon was a Scots pine plantation.


See that dark patch with white stipes in the centre? Well that is the wood at Drummond Hill in which the birch provenance trial can be found. The really big black / very dark blue patch is Loch Tay.


Posted in Holidays and field trips





Ash at night, Edinburgh (10th April 2008)

ash tree silhouetted against night sky in Edinburgh

The view from my bedroom window at about half an hour past midnight on the morning of April the 10th. Well, actually all I could see was blackness and a crescent moon, but this was a fifteen-second exposure. The tree in the centre is an ash (Fraxinus excelsior).


Posted in Miscellany





Grey alder No. 4 update (Day 381)

grey alder No. 4 is flushing

Grey alder No. 4 is flushing!

Doesn't it look great? After months of looking like little other than a stick, No. 4 finally puts out an explosion of greenery! The photos are courtesy of my father, who took them on Saturday (the 12th) - Day 381 for the Set A treeblog trees. There were four photographs altogether, each from a different angle, and I have cropped and stitched them together for your viewing pleasure.

grey alder No. 4 from 4 angles

Four times the greenery!

What about Set B? Well, as of yesterday (Day 30) there were still no reported sightings. Set A had seedlings by Day 30! But Set A was planted a fortnight later in March than Set B.


Posted in The treeblog trees





Atlas cedar cone

Atlas cedar cone

Sometime last week I saw a conifer with these big solid looking cones. I was intrigued and plucked one off the tree. Fairly light but rock hard with a nice scent.

Atlas cedar cone in hand

But what kind of tree has these weird cones? The Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) [aka (Cedrus libani var. atlantica)]!

close-up of Atlas cedar cone

It is a native of the Atlas Mountains in Algeria and Morocco and is apparently one of the most planted decorative conifers in Britain. Which makes it all the more surprising that I've never noticed one before.

top-down close-up of Atlas cedar cone


Posted in Miscellany





Duddingston Loch (26th April 2008)

Being free at last from the bonds of dissertation, yesterday I took a walk in the sunny afternoon to Duddingston Loch, only about ten minutes from my flat.

yellow sea of gorse

The yellow sea of gorse covering the foot of Arthur's Seat near Samson's Ribs.

willow and water

This willow grows at the bottom of a rocky slope, right on the shore of Duddingston Loch.

small hawthorn

A few stunted hawthorns are growing on the rocky slope...

new leaves on hawthorn

... and they are well advanced in putting out their new leaves relative to most deciduous species. Other early flusher I've noticed in Edinburgh include elder, gean, rowan, and certain silver birches and European beeches. The earliest flusher in town is probably the horse chestnut.

lichens on rock

Oooh, look: a token lichen photograph! One of the hawthorns can be seen in the background.

willow branches silhouetted against the sun

Dead and living branches of the willow silhouetted against Sol.

yellow gorse flowers

Let's end with a stunning gorse photograph. Doesn't it make you long for summer?

treeblog Set B update (Day 44 - yesterday) According to my father there are still no signs of life in the treeblog seed trays, except for something in the downy birch section that looks like a pine needle or blade of grass - probably a weed.


Posted in Gone for a walk





Set A super treeblog seedling update (Day 397): Part I

Oh my. It appears I haven't posted a proper treeblog seedling update in a goodly while. I guess I ought to remedy that situation... with a super treeblog seedling update love explosion!!! This is only the second time all of the Set A seedlings have been featured in an update, so it's an event of some importance! The first STSU was way back when in December with photographs from Day 264 (see Part I and Part II). The photographs in this update were taken on Day 397 - Monday the 28th of April - by my father. Massive props to him!

Alpha Scots pine

The Alpha Scots pine. C'est magnifique! After an eternity of no apparent change in nature, the last month or so has seen this beaut get pumped! The green section of stem seems to have swelled in girth as well as grown taller... and at the top a rosette!

Alpha Scots pine

The rosette can be seen better from this angle.

Gamma Scots pine

It's Alpha's younger buddy, the Gamma Scots pine. Again, the green section of the stem is swollen with new growth. I expect big things from these two pines this growing season!

grey alder No. 1

Grey alder No. 1. While pathetic in comparison with the superlative No. 4, No. 1 is still a pleasant enough specimen.

grey alder No. 2

Grey alder No. 2. The runtiest of the runts. Looks healthy though.

grey alder No. 3

Grey alder No. 3. A slightly better performance places this seedling in grey alder second place, ahead of No. 1 but behind...

grey alder No. 4

Grey alder No. 4! King of Set A! Absolutely incredible! I cannot praise this beast enough.

This photo has somehow sneaked into a Set A update... it shows the "pine needle or blade of grass" noticed in one of the Set B seed trays by my father on Saturday. I don't think that's a seedling, so, slightly worryingly, no Set B seedling has yet appeared above-soil.

And so ends Part I of this super treeblog seedling update. Come back soon for Part II, when it will be time to put the cider gums under the spotlight. And, to end on a bit of a cliffhanger... terrible news regarding one of the fake alder seedlings!


Posted in The treeblog trees












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