Tree Following – Germany’s Tree of the Year 2015: the Field Maple

The German Tree of the Year is named by a Foundation (Baum des Jahres – Dr. Silvius Wodarz Stiftung) in a similar way to the Flower of the Year, which I posted about recently. The aim is to draw attention to the tree and inform people about it, with information leaflets and activities, for children in particular.

When I realised that the tree chosen as our Tree of the Year is one that stands proudly in my garden, I decided to start “tree following”; over the past few months I have read with interest about various blogging friends’ trees, posted as part of the Loose and Leafy tree following meme. I was too late to join in for January, so I shall link to Lucy’s meme today for February. Here’s a photo taken just recently.

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Acer campestre, commonly known as Field Maple, or in German Feldahorn

This photo was mid-January, before the snow.

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It is the smaller brother of the maple trees, often with several trunks, too small for use by the forestry industry. In fact sometimes it looks barely more than a shrub. At a rough estimate, ours has been standing for at least 30 years. We use one of the three trunks, along with a nearby birch, for one of our hammocks in the summer (maybe you can spot the rope around the trunk, although we don’t notice it any more!). Our maple is a pretty shape as it has fortunately had enough space around it to grow upright.

I shall look forward to sharing more pictures with you as the year progresses.

Do you have Field Maples in your neighbourhood?

How about joining in with Lucy’s meme? All the instructions about how and when can be found on her special page here.

Thank you for hosting, Lucy!

In a Vase on Monday: Snow White

Monday: the day when I usually step out into my garden to snip a few bits and pieces to fill a vase for Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”

Ahem. Could be tricky this week. We had more snow overnight and this morning…

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…so I considered filling a vase with snow. ;-)

Then I considered showing you some dried flowers.

But then, after shovelling some snow and establishing that there really was nothing at all visible to cut out there, I snipped another snow white flower off my patio Hellebore – “Christmas Star” – which stands close to the house and has survived another frosty night.

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I put it in my snowdrop vase (which I have never actually used for snowdrops as mine always seem to have such short stems!), and this finally got the thumbs up from my Man of Many Talents. :D

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The props this week: some garden fleece, at the ready for covering my small Cypress tree; a book of poetry, “Flora Poetica: The Chatto Book of Botanical Verse”, which I can thoroughly recommend and will review soon…

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…and my snowball candle as a symbol of today being Candlemas, otherwise known as Groundhog Day in the US! The customs aren’t the same here, but there is a saying that goes something like this:

If Candlemas is bright and clear, Spring will not be very near

But if it’s stormy and there’s snow, Winter will soon pack up and go

(my own translation!)

I’m hopeful!

So, what was the weather like where you are today… any hope of spring arriving soon?

Do go and visit Cathy at “Rambling in the Garden” where she has produced an incy wincy arrangement this week, and many more have linked in too.

:)

February – at last!

There is nothing happening in my garden right now… A few Hellebore buds under the snow, and some snowdrops struggling to open. January is definitely not a favourite month of mine, so I am pleased to welcome February and am hopeful that I will see a flower or two before this month is out.

Still, the view from the house was lovely very early yesterday morning as the sun made one of its rare winter appearances…

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Photo taken from indoors at around 8.30am

~~~

I thought the world was cold in death;
      The flowers, the birds, all life was gone,
      For January’s bitter breath
      Had slain the bloom and hushed the song.
And still the earth is cold and white,
      And mead and forest yet are bare;
      But there’s a something in the light
      That says the germ of life is there.


from “February” by Mrs. Jane G. Austin

~~~

Have a good February!

:)

In a Vase on Monday: A Japanese Breeze

Once again Monday is here – time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday vase meme, and collect some materials from my garden to bring indoors and place in a vase.

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This lovely blue vase was given to me years ago by my sister and was the inspiration for this week’s Japanese theme. I like the tree silhouettes on the white background, which remind me of birches in winter – a familiar sight. And I love the shape of the vase too.

Pickings are few and far between at the moment (it keeps snowing and sleeting!), so I started with a twig – a dead piece of Beech. Then came the fresh green Ivy from one of my patio pots, some variegated Vinca, purply Euphorbia and a Hellebore leaf.

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Using my imagination, the twig has tiny cherry flowers just opening on it, the Ivy is a fresh sprig of Japanese maple in spring, the Vinca is some wafty Bamboo, the Euphorbia a pinky red Chrysanthemum flower, and the Hellebore is a Gingko leaf!

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Over 20 years ago now I spent some time in Japan, teaching English, and naturally I collected some bits and pieces while there, a couple of which I have added here as props; the tiny basket on the left came from one of the tourist spots outside Tokyo, but the bell was a simple decoration sold at many temples. It had a long strip of paper hanging from the little clapper (I think a prayer was written on it), and the idea was that on a hot and humid summer’s day the tiniest breeze would catch the paper, making the bell ring, and thus make you feel cooler. It works too. I had this at the kitchen window in my flat, and when I heard it I would think “Ooh, how lovely – a breeze”, although I barely felt it!

So this week’s vase has made me reminisce a little, and also be glad that I no longer have to suffer the heat and humidity of a Japanese summer in a flat with a tin roof and no air conditioning! :)

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Thanks once again to our host – Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who has this week produced another lovely arrangement – do go over and take a look!

Have a nice week and stay warm!

In a Vase on Monday: Earthly Joys

I look forward to Mondays these days… Searching my garden for something attractive to put in a vase for Cathy’s meme has become quite a ritual, although I must admit to sometimes doing this a day early.

Today I carried my little vase through the house to the lightest room, my fingers still numb from the cold, and as I opened the door there lay the book I have been intending to read for some time now: “Earthly Joys” – the perfect title for my post!

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This is the same Hellebore from my patio pot that I used two weeks ago, and I found the label. It seems I mixed up the names of this and my Amaryllis/Hippeastrum – the Amaryllis is not Christmas Star as I had thought, but “Bolero”. The Hellebore is “Christmas Star”.

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I added a few sprigs of box, some laurel, Euonymous, Vinca and Carex, and a few red Heuchera leaves.

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Despite our lack of sunshine in January, I did manage to find a light spot for the photo. Have you noticed how the days are getting longer ?

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Sun of joy, and pleasure’s light,
All were lost in gloom of night.
Night so long, with tears and sorrow–
Hearts might break ere broke the morrow.
Day so short and night so long–
Fled the bird and hushed the song.
But, my heart, look up, be stronger,
For the days are growing longer. “

from “Now the Days are Growing Longer” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Take a look at Cathy’s site “Rambling in the Garden” where she has presented her beautiful white Amaryllis today.

And many others have linked in with their own creations too. Why not join in?!

:D