Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Cheddar Gorge trees

A couple of weeks ago my wife, Rhi, and I went for a walk on the southern side of Cheddar Gorge, in part of the coppiced woodland and limestone meadow area known as Black Rock Reserve. The gorge is the largest in Britain and was formed by regular meltwater events during periglacial conditions over the last 1.2 million years (i.e. the area was frozen, preventing water flow through the permeable limestone but not covered by a glacier).

Here in the first photograph is a view from the top with Rhi in the centre and directly beneath her on the cliff a specimen of, I think, the rare Sorbus anglica. Sorbus anglica, Cheddar Whitebeam, is an apomictic (asexually reproducing) hybrid between Sorbus acuparia (the Rowan or Mountain Ash) and Sorbus aria (the Common Whitebeam).

There are numerous wind sculpted trees on the edge of the cliffs, here is a common hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna.

There are also beautiful medow and downland flowers up here, which of course attract insects. Hre is a Five-Spot Burnet, Zygaena trifolii, a day-flying moth, feeding on the nectar of Thymus serpyllum, Wild Tyme.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Oak portrait

This is a tree I see regularly and throughout the seasons from the train between Bath and Bristol. One day, a couple of weeks ago I had occasion to pass that way by car and so I planned ahead and had my camera to hand. The sun was in just the right possition and I had a polarising filter to flatten the glare off the leaves. This is a very girthy old Quercus robur (about 3 meters circumference I estimate, I forgot my tape measure) with a plently of deadwood branches but still holding a healthy crown of foliage.

If you want to visit this tree it is just of the A4 to the west of Bath, here is a map, the point in the centre of which indicates the trees location:

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tsuga progress

This Tsuga heterophyla is progressing nicely, here it is accented by the Tymus from the previous post. It does need wiring again as many of the branches have not kept their shape.

Tiny Thymus

A tiny Thymus in flower as an accent or companion planting to accompany shohin bonsai, the Japanese call these Kusamono, literally meaning "grass object".

Nire Elm progress

Here is a recent photo of my Nire Elm shohin bonsai (I have now come to the conclusion that the nire elm has to be Ulmus parvifloia "nire-keyaki"). The tree is now planted in a round pot by China Mist, the accent plant is a tiny Sedum collected from a window box at a friends house in Brighton and planted in a pot by Erin Pottery.

Back from the icy grave

My little compact camera packed in on the morning I photographed the Seven Sisters beech trees at dawn. The cheep, plastic geared lens motor just couldn't cope with -5C... now I have a MUCH better camera and can take much better photographs. More very soon.