Birch Leaves

I think it is Silver Birch trees (Betula pendula) growing between the west end of Greenwood House and Herrison Hall, and again the other side near the east end of Redwood House. They have fine elegant drooping branches borne on a trunk with a characteristic cracked white bark. In April as the leaves begin to open there are dangling catkins too. On my evening walks I look up into the gently waving foliage and gain a sense of calm; and I like the patterns that they make silhouetted against the sky.

First Swallows

My first sighting of swallows this year was on 19th April near Forston, not far from Charlton Down, along the Cerne Valley Trail.

Plane Flowers

Despite living here in Charlton Down for so long, and brushing against the low twigs of these trees whenever I go from Greenwood House to the village hall or the shop, I have never noticed their flowers before. I am talking about some Plane trees planted in groups around the parking area in front of Herrison Hall. Their round knobbly fruits are very noticeable, and in fact many of these still linger on the tree after winter and into spring. But this is the first time I have seen the flowers, which are often in clusters together with last year’s fruit and the newly-opened furry leaves. There are separate male and female flowers on Plane trees.

Native Bluebells

It takes your breath away when you accidentally come across a copse carpeted with bluebells. Standing on the outside, peering in through branches at ancient trees standing and fallen to the realm where only the deer reign, while the birds sing, and the sun shines, and the bright blue flowers stand tall by their thousands in dappled light.

Lime tree leaves 1

All the trees around the village seem to be springing into life now, opening up their leaves and flowers, and providing us with an increasingly colourful show. Lime trees are amongst the most common in Charlton Down and this week the buds have popped and the delicate bright citric green leaves are unwrapping from the buds.

Maple flowers

There are different types of Maple trees around the village. I am not sure exactly what they are all called. Maybe someone is good at tree identification and can put me right? The maples are in bloom this week. The flowers are bright yellow and stand out against the dark branches and the blue sky. The leaves burst out at almost the same time and are very thin and crinkled and unobtrusive for the moment. Together they crown the trees with a halo of gold. The example shown here can be seen in the Charlton Down Nature Reserve.

Apples & Pears

Compared with last year at this time, the fruit trees in the Community Orchard are slower to flower. The plum blossoms are nearly finished and the late frosts do not seem to have affected the setting of the fruits. Pear trees are now taking their turn to bloom, while the apples are quite a bit behind – mostly just tight red buds this week. The orchard is looking good. There is a pretty carpet of dandelions and daisies in the grass with patches of purple ground-ivy flowers here and there.

Copper Beech Leaves 1

One of the greatest pleasures afforded me as a Greenwood House resident must be watching the huge copper beech trees to the south of the building wake up in Spring. From the bare skeleton branches of winter, a gradual hint of a tint of pink starts the display. Then before you know it, the leaf buds are opening and the bright rusty red leaves unfold. I never cease to be delighted at observing the show. From a distance and close to. I must admit to being almost obsessed by the beauty of these trees. I take lots of photographs throughout the year. The trees are like old friends to me and give great solace and joy. I make no apology for the fact that I will be including lots of pictures of them in this blog. (How many copper beeches do you actually think are out there?)

Sycamore flowers

The wonderful yellowy haze amongst the branches of some trees is made up of thousands of small flowers which emerge either before or with the leaves depending on the species. At the junction of Herrison Road with Sherren Avenue is a group of tall majestic trees that greet all comers to the village. One of these is a Sycamore that has started to flower over the past week. The small flowers are still in bud and hang like miniature bunches of golden grapes below the still-folded new pink leaves.

P.S. Since I took these pictures the other day, the flowers have begun to open as you can see below.

Sycamore leaves and flowers now open on some of the trees

Cherry blossoms by the bus stop

Cherry blossoms on the two trees by the bus stop in their full splendour.