Wednesday, 14 May 2008

ABC Wednesday - Q is for...

...Quercus robur

One of the most venerated of our trees, otherwise known as the pedunculate oak. This one stands guard over the nearest water standpipe to my plot and also the subject of my recent ABC Wednesday 'N' posting. I often go and sit under its stately branches on a hot summer's day when it's time for a break from my hard labours. It also causes me great amusement during the Autumn when its many acorns rain down on our allotment loo. As this is a 'tin box', the noise can be quite something until you get used to it!

It's one of two native oak species, the other is the sessile oak (Quercus petraea). It grows to over 100 feet - so is not a good choice for most of our gardens! Our allotments were once part of a country house estate, so I suspect it's part of the original landscape planting. It's magnificent size suggests it's pretty old anyway. They can live for up to 1000 years, can host up to 423 insect species and is said to be an indicator of better soils. Certainly the sessile oaks I've seen have been in poorer soil upland regions, such as Snowdonia National Park.

The use of its timber for building has made a comeback in recent years, thanks to programmes such as Grand Designs which has featured some magnificant oak framed buildings. It's an extremely tough, hard wearing wood - lasting for many centuries if well cared for. Lord Nelson ordered many trees to be planted across England so the nation would never be short of a good timber supply for ship building. Little did he know that iron would soon replace oak as the material of choice.

Finally, it's also part of our weather lore:

If the oak comes before the ash, then we'll only have a splash.
If the ash comes before the oak, then we'll surely have a soak.

If this is true, then we're due for a good summer in this area as the oak unfurled its leaves first this year. However, our weather forecasters who use more scientific methods disagree!

ABC Wednesday is bought to you courtesy of Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

19 comments:

  1. I hope your oak is right! It'll be fun to wait and see.

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  2. Forget the weatherman, listen to the trees. I love oak trees. I used to help my Grandfather and Dad chop Post Oak for fence posts on the farm.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Come visit my Quadruped,
    Troy

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  3. I too hope your Oak is right. What great info you gave us today. Such a gorgeous tree...
    I live next door to a town called Thousand Oaks here in California that has many beautiful majestic Oaks...

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  4. I love learning so much about nature through bloggging! Wonderful choice and explanation.

    Come and see mine.

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  5. I haven't heard that saying before.....I love the things I learn from bloggers!.....
    Mine seems so unoriginal.

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  6. seems like you've got MNOPQ all rolled into one here!

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  7. Oaks are "the king among trees" in my opinion. Take good care of it!

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  8. A great shot for a mythic tree!
    miss Yves

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  9. I hope you're right about the summer and what a good idea for Q.

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  10. Trees always know the weather, moreso than humans!

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  11. Wonderful choice and explanation!

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  12. A good summer? About time. We have overcast weather here right now.

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  13. That weather lore is interesting. We don't have a lot of oaks in this area, but I love seeing them when I do.

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  14. I love large old oak trees. We don't have any near our home. Now the maples are one of my favourite. I love the garden pictures on your site. Thanks for sharing.

    I chose to use nearby Quadra Island for Q. It is a fun vacation destination that you can see by clicking here. – Margy

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  15. The green looks so lovely this time of year.
    Thanks for info on bug. Husband says he thought it was a May Bug (not what he said at the weekend!)
    Sorry I haven't done your meme yet, I will do it soon :)

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  16. Hiya VP,

    I learned this with a different scan:

    'f the oak is out before the ash
    we only get a little splash

    'f the ash is out before the oak
    we can expect a real soak.

    I have used this as a mantra over the past few weeks, praying the ash would win.

    They were neck 'n neck for ages, but alas in our area Berks) the oak won :-(

    do you over there still have a blanket hose-pipe ban? I am carrying water in 5-liter bottles and they are making my arms drop off.

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  17. Beautiful! I love the idea of sitting uner it.

    Great Q! I had such a hard time trying to think of a "Q"!

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  18. Hi everyone and thanks so much for your comments. Q was quite hard wasn't it?

    I've left you a comment over at your place...

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