Tree Following: June 2015

I am following a tree this year – a Field Maple to be precise – along with Lucy at Loose and Leafy, and many others around the world. This month my tree is looking lush and leafy. 🙂

However, on closer examination there are very few seeds that have remained on the tree, most dropping at or just after flowering stage… and a lot of aphids earlier this month have made an ugly mess of many leaves too… Maybe it became susceptible due to stress caused by our very dry April?


But wait, what’s this? A strange orange and black bug…


And another one… chomping away!


I have identified them as the larva and pupa stages of the Asian Ladybird Harmonia axyridis, also known as the Harlequin Ladybird, the most invasive ladybird on earth!

It has the potential to threaten our native ones, eating both their food sources and their larvae. So I will be on the lookout for the adult now, to see if I can differentiate between it and our native ones. Not that I can do anything about it, but I’ll keep you posted anyway. A good website to help with identification of ladybirds, at least in western Europe, is the Ladybird Survey site, which has information on the Harlequin too. Here is a link to some Wikimedia photos of the adult Harlequin Ladybird.

Have you seen this ladybird? Do you see other ladybirds too, or did you in the past?

 Thanks go to Lucy for hosting this meme… I probably would not have learned that we have this ladybird in our garden if I hadn’t been watching my tree so closely!

Tree Following: May 2015

This year I am following a tree along with Lucy at Loose and Leafy and a whole bunch of other bloggers. The tree I chose is a Field Maple, Acer campestre. We had a very dry month of April, and I took some photos on April 27th (all the left-hand photos) – a very hot and muggy day – just before the rain arrived. Then I took some more photos on May 6th (all the right-hand photos) after a week of showers. See the difference!

The leaves unfurled slowly, revealing the flower…

Their shape has become more defined as they grow larger, although they are still quite pale…

The canopy I will enjoy when lying in my hammock in summer is also quite well developed now…

And all that happened within the space of 9 days!

We have blackbirds nesting near the house, and the male likes to sit in this tree and sing, even while we are sitting on the grass beneath it with our old doggie for a bit of shade… it’s her favourite spot in the garden. 🙂


Tree Following: April 2015

This year I am joining Lucy at Loose and Leafy in following a tree, and I am posting monthly about my Field Maple (Acer campestre) which stands at the bottom of our garden.



Look up, look up, at any tree!

There is so much for eyes to see:

Twigs, catkins, blossoms; and the blue

Of sky, most lovely, peeping through…

(from “Look Up!” by Cicely Mary Barker)


Despite some really warm days the leaf buds are only just showing signs of development. I can’t wait to see the leaves unfurl.


The other members of the Acer family in my garden are just as far on or even a little further ahead; the Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore)…


the Acer tataricum (Amur Maple)…


and the Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)…


 Between the 7th and 14th of each month you can link in with your tree at Loose and Leafy. Dozens of people from all over are taking part, so why not join in!

Are you seeing any leaf growth yet?

Tree Following: March 2015

This year I am watching my Field Maple as part of Lucy’s Tree Following meme at Loose and Leafy. I introduced my tree here in early February, and to be honest not much has changed since then!


The botanical name Acer campestre comes from Latin; acer means sharp, which I assume refers to the leaf shape, and campestre – from campus – means field or open land. There is another common name in German: Maßholder. This name means ‘food tree’, and evolved from the ancient use of the leaves which were eaten like sauerkraut or fed to cattle.

As there is little else to see this month apart from the tiniest hint of leaf buds, let’s look at the bark…


As you see there is moss clinging on to the grey-brown bark, which is a bit like cork. Although it is rough it is somehow pleasant to touch. The moss does very well in this part of the garden as it is shady once the other trees come into leaf. In fact this is one of the shadiest spots mid-summer, which is why it was chosen for one of our hammocks. Perhaps you can notice that the grass beneath it is also mostly moss… lovely to walk on barefoot on a hot day!

So, with dreams of summer, thanks to Lucy who now has a lovely big group of tree followers linking to her meme. Take a look here, or better still, join in!




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.


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

This photo was mid-January, before the snow.


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!