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Posted on March 28, 2012 by Ash
Grey alder No. 1 on Saturday.
Five years ago today, on the 28th of March 2007, I planted three kinds of seeds: grey alder (Alnus incana), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), and cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii) as treeblog’s Set A. Today, all of the cider gums are dead, but on the fifth anniversary of their planting, three grey alders and two Scots pines are alive and well. On Saturday (March 24th – Day 1823) I paid the surviving grey alders a visit.
Grey alder No. 1 looks rather spindly and the sheep damage at the base of the stem is still nasty. Ne’ertheless, it still lives and what’s more…
…there are catkins! Only one clump, but No. 1 actually has catkins and it’s only five years old! The yellowish part is the top of a male catkin (not sure where the rest is); the fuzzy, reddish (out-of-focus) parts are the female flowers, which will develop into woody seed-bearing ‘cones’. I do not know if grey alders are able to self-pollinate; if not then it is extremely unlikely to produce fertile seed.
Grey alder No. 2: the best of the bunch, despite being the worst performer for a long time. No. 2 and No. 3 grow close together, while No. 1 (and the dead No. 4) are at a different location.
No. 2 and the late afternoon sun.
Grey alder No. 3. While not quite as strong as No. 2, it is far sturdier than No. 1.
The stem could hardly be called spindly, and good progress is being made in sealing the old sheep grazing wounds.
No. 3 was the most advanced of the three in terms of bud-burst or flushing. Lots of the buds were already showing green, with tiny leaves just starting to unfurl from some.
No. 3 from a different angle.
My last visit to the alders was in September. While they have now been in the wild since April 2010, the Scots pines remain in our garden for the time being. I took their picture yesterday (Day 1826):
Scots pine Alpha. It can’t be long now before its buds begin stretching out into candles.
Scots pine Gamma.
And finally, even though I didn’t plant it (it’s a self-set), here’s honorary Set A member PSAUS - some kind of willow, perhaps a goat willow (Salix caprea).
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