Collecting berries from a favourite rowan, Upper Midhope

It was a nice day on Friday, so I went for a walk around Langsett. I’ve been fancying growing some rowans for treeblog’s Set C (coming 2009), and it just so happened that my route took me past a couple of my favourites. The berries on the first rowan weren’t quite ripe, so I’ll have to go back in a week or so. The second rowan is a tree with plenty of character. Situated at the edge of a country lane a stone’s throw away from the pretty hamlet of Upper Midhope, half of the tree is a bleached silver skeleton. The other half of the tree, which forks in two about a metre from the ground, is also mostly dead but retains enough greenery to keep ticking over. It’s a beautiful tree, as you can see yourself from the photos below, which I took one fine day in the 2006 heatwave – August 24th.

the rowan

the bleached, dead half

looking up at the foliage

Until two days ago, I don’t think I’ve been past this rowan in the two years since I took those photos. Nevertheless, I had this charismatic tree in mind when I set off on my walk and it was my purpose to collect some of its berries for treeblog’s Set C. Imagine my dismay as I crested a ridge and couldn’t see the tree in its usual place. As I got closer, I found out why.

the rowan resting on a dry stone wall, having fallen over

What a shame! I don’t know if it was blown down in a storm, or whether it just collapsed – the base was pretty rotten (see the final photograph). The tree is still alive and its usual canopy is alive and well, complete with several clusters of berries. I guess the tree must have come down this year, judging by the angle of this year’s growth. What I don’t know is how long it has been this way. If it only came down recently – and we had some pretty nasty weather a week or so ago – the foliage may still look healthy even though the tree has no chance of surviving the coming months. Yet I hope that there is still enough vascular tissue connecting the roots to the now-horizontal upper parts for this rowan to continue to live for years to come. I also hope no farmer comes along and clears it away.

I collected a couple of berry clusters, which will be planted for treeblog’s next set. It’ll be a pleasure to raise this tree’s offspring.

the rowan lying on the wall

the rotten base

[Update (14 February 2009): The rowan is still in situ and it is still alive!]

[Update (24th May 2009): I visited today but the fallen tree has been cleared away, leaving just a stump. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its seeds I planted for Set C germinate.]

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