Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Tree Following With Lucy: May

As anticipated in last month's Tree Following post, the scene for May looks very different. As you can see, my ash tree has sprouted plenty of fresh, zingy new leaves. These appeared on April 9th, well ahead of the oak up at the allotment whose buds finally decided to break on April 27th*.

Have you noticed when you start watching something closely, how lots more questions form in your mind? In this instance I'm intrigued how the ash I'm watching from my back bedroom window is much further advanced than the ash tree neighbouring our front garden. The trees are only a few yards from each other and in similar situations, so why has one so much more leaf cover than the other? I shall be watching both trees from now on for clues as to why it might be...

This might be the last time we get to see Mr and Mrs Pigeon canoodling on the branches (click to enlarge the picture if needed) as the leaf cover is beginning to hide them from our sight. No doubt I'll still be able to hear them, so I might try to record them for next month's post.

I also have a lawn crisis - the neighbouring trees means part of the lawn is heavily shaded and so the grass is refusing to grow. Guess which tree affects it the most... yes it's the ash tree. In fact, the tree's shadowy outline in the afternoon almost exactly matches where the lack of grass is on my lawn. I'm at a bit of a loss at what to do about this problem, so your ideas are welcome.

That's it for now - have a look at Lucy's Tree Following page, to see how the other Tree Followers are faring this month.

* = so we need to see if the saying comes true in the next few months. I hope we're not due for a long summer soak! In the link there's speculation that ash might be drought sensitive, so did our incredibly wet winter encourage it into leaf much earlier this year? Ah yes, another question to ponder...


  1. Do you get lots of debris from the ash and lots of self sown tree seedlings? My sister's garden is plagued with one that overhangs her garden.

  2. Hi Sue - yes I do. That's another post planned for this tree following series, once they start emerging! Now we have less tree overhanging the garden, it'll be interesting to see how it affects the number of seedlings next year and beyond.

  3. No, I refuse to believe we are in for a proper soak this year, positive thoughts now. I'm sure there is an Ash tree in a garden close by & a huge oak tree in the field at the back of my mums. I shall be paying close attention to them next year. It's a pity about your lawn.

  4. I planted shade gardens when I couldn't grow grass and I loved it. I have a 2 maples that flower at different stages but leaf out at the same that is interesting to ponder. I love my ash trees and as they are very tall (80-100 ft) the grass grows great under them. It may just take a bit of time to let the ash get bigger. Also I use sod not seed but there are grass seed varieties that prefer shade.

  5. My ash trees are not even thinking about leafing up, and yet the little oak seedlings generously distributed about my garden are beautifully leafed (makes them easy to spot and pull out). Maybe we'll be dry...

  6. We are only going to get a splash here. The oaks were all out before the ash.
    I have two Horse Chestnuts side by side and one comes into leaf and flower way ahead of the other. I would like to know why.

  7. I was looking at an avenue of horse chestnut trees a few days ago. Because it's an avenue I assume they were all planted at the same time - but it struck me as very odd how greatly varied they are in shape and size.
    You picture is delightfully green. But sad your pigeons are getting obscured. They are delightfully devoted creatures. I understand that's why they race. The males are let loose and they hurry back to their wives. I'm not a pigeon racer so I can't vouch that that's fact - but it's a nice idea.

  8. I do love that bright green furze of new leaves, nothing quite beats it. Afraid I am with Donna on the grass front, get rid of it and plant exciting things!!

  9. I love the foliage at this time of year, that stunning fresh acid green. You're right about the birds, soon they will disappear into the leaves.

  10. I'm still watching our ash closely and think that I saw signs of green today. Can't believe how far ahead yours is VP. Fortunately ours is nowhere near the lawn.

  11. Nice post. The only birds I've seen on my willow have been a pair of canoodling pigeons. Flighty xx

  12. you are so right about how looking close raises more questions!

  13. Hi everyone - thanks for your visit and comments. I'm amazed at how variable the answer to the oak vs ash question around the country.

    I also had some advice from Chris Beardshaw at Malvern about what to do about my lawn :)


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