European Larch (Larix decidua)
The Sunshine Bed, planted up last Spring, has come to life and really is shining in all the wonderful sunshine we have had recently. Shining despite the lack of rain this month too… I think we had one afternoon of light showers early April! (And just a few spots this afternoon)
The creamy yellow tulip is Akebono, which featured in my tulip vase last week. It is quite blousy with pretty edges that sometimes turn slightly peachy. In the background the broom has started to flower. I love having this in the garden as it grows wild in our region and is also just starting to colour the roadsides. 😃 In the foreground is a small Alchemilla mollis… in the Butterfly Bed the Alchemilla are much bigger already, but this bed is more exposed to the cold nights and wind. I have had lots of Narcissi in this bed too, but they are all over now. And I am very happy to see the Californian Poppies I had last summer have spread and are already forming nice clumps.
From a slightly different angle the new larch forest, planted last year, is just visible.
Last autumn I suddenly decided I wanted to plant a larch forest. How many trees make a forest? I chose seven small trees, about 1.3 meters tall, and planted them in the rain one dreary December afternoon. It was dark by the time I was done, but what a great feeling! 😃
And now the beautiful fresh green of their new needles is creating a lovely focal point beyond the Sunshine Bed. My Man of Many Talents kindly mowed around it the other day…
Their spring colour is intense and yet soft, and the golden autumn colour is quite magical. Do you have larch trees in or near your garden?
I wonder what green you look forward to most in Spring… Larch green? Euphorbia green? Grass green?! Do share your thoughts! 😃
Thanks for reading. 🦋
I mentioned in a post recently that we have a lot of pollen this spring. (Understatement of the year!) Well, I have since learned that not only has everything flowered at once due to our warm April – the warmest on record since 1881 in Germany – but it is also a so-called mast year for birches, spruce and firs in our region.
A mast year is basically a year when certain types of tree in a whole region produce much more pollen and thus far more seeds than in a normal year. Birches do this regularly – every second year – while other trees such as oak or spruce only do this every 4-8 years.
Trees generally use their energy for putting on growth in non-mast years. But in a mast year something triggers them to put all their strength into preserving themselves and to produce as much seed (and hence pollen in spring) as possible. This can apparently be seen in the rings when a tree is cut, with intermittent rings of very little growth. The trigger may be a warm spring, drought or other factors such as the North Atlantic oscillation. In other words, climate change affects tree ‘behaviour’. But what fascinates me is that, for example, practically every Spruce tree in the whole of Germany has started pumping out the pollen, whether in the far north, the Alps, the Black Forest or the Bavarian Forest. Clever. 😉
Just looking across our valley at the hillsides around us recently it suddenly became clear to me that the Spruce, Firs, and probably many other conifers have joined the birch this year – the trees are gold and brown instead of green, with little fresh growth and millions of flowers and cones forming on their branches. Perhaps you can see what I mean from this photo taken yesterday where the conifers are all much darker than the fresh deciduous trees in full leaf…
In fact, when I walked around the garden and took a closer look I could see our Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, Silver Fir, Austrian Pine and other conifers I cannot identify are all going mad this spring!
One article I read quoted a botanist suggesting the conifers are suffering from several dry years in a row, and this is a self-preservation measure should they die. A grim thought. While looking for more information on this phenomena I found myself engulfed in the technical jargon of meteorologists and botanists. But it was interesting to find out just why we are experiencing so much pollen this spring!
Have you ever heard of mast years or experienced the same where you live?