In the middle of the park, the hawthorn blossom is pink; not uniformly pink but definitely pink in places. It seems to be confined to the hedges at the bottom end of Sleepers Field right through to the hedge at the top of the little triangular field that doesn’t have a name. It’s very pretty.Continue reading “Pink hawthorn”
This is the blossom of the hawthorn tree. It is also called may or mayflower, and the hawthorn tree is still sometimes called a may tree.Continue reading “Mayflower”
These are the flowers of an oak tree. Oaks are monoecious; they have male flowers and female flowers on the same tree.Continue reading “Oak flowers”
There was a frost on Saturday night.Continue reading “Late frost”
By Patrick Jones
I’ve just been looking through the Tree Survey for the Country Park before passing it on to the committee and was amazed by the sheer number of specimen trees. I could not resist breaking it down. I don’t know if this has been done but the following are my (possibly inaccurate) figures.Continue reading “More about our notable trees”
Wiltshire keeps a record of all the notable trees on all county-owned land. Each tree’s species, approximate age and its grid reference are written down; it is given a number and its photograph is taken.Continue reading “Notable trees”
By Ian Bushell
Southwick Country Park has a number of veteran oaks and ten ancient oaks. There are no hard and fast rules about when and why an oak tree becomes classified as veteran or ancient; in different environments and soils oaks grow at different rates and girth is only an indicator. Here the underlying Oxford clay provides an excellent medium and the trees are large and shapely.Continue reading “The Park’s Veteran Oaks”
There has been a lot of noisy forestry work going on in the park for the past few weeks. We have had both enquiries and complaints.Continue reading
The park’s hedges have burst into blossom and the park is looking wonderful. The show will only last a few days; come and see before it vanishes.continue for More pictures
More about our oaks.Continue reading “Oak gall ink”
By Ian Bushell.
Southwick Country Park has a number of veteran oaks and one identified ancient oak, but what is a veteran or ancient oak? There are no hard and fast rules; in different environments and soils oaks grow at different rates. Here the underlying Oxford clay provides an excellent medium and the trees are large. One criterion for assessing veteran trees is those with a girth of 3.2 m are considered of potential interest, and those with a girth of 4.7 m as being valuable in terms of conservation.Continue reading “The Park’s Old Oaks”
Our Famous Tree
A message from DKG
“Just to let you know, my photo of the lone oak with the cloud halo above it was shown on the BBC Weather report this morning”
This is tree number 5552: an old pollarded oak standing in the eastern-most corner of Sleeper Field.
We need to take carbon out of our atmosphere and hide it where it can’t contribute, as carbon dioxide, to global warming; the process is called carbon capture and sequestration. Above is the power industry’s solution to the problem; click on the link for FoSCP’s solution:
This is fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) found, rather unusually, under a goat willow in the park; birch and pine are its preferred partners.
The Lone Oak is showing its age; it has dead and dying branches and parts of the trunk are being hollowed out by fungus. We have decided that it should be allowed to get on with being several hundred years old, providing habitat for a whole new spectrum of species; we are not going to interfere. Instead, we have fenced around the tree to keep our park users safe.
The alternative would be to chop bits of it off, in order to protect the picnicking public from falling branches. This summer it became quite the thing to picnic under the Lone Oak, a tribute to its elder status.
The tree will live a long time yet; the fence will mellow, warp, acquire its own little ecology, rot away and be replaced long before the tree is done. An ageing oak tree is a wonderful resource of nesting holes, rotting wood for beetle larvae and a hundred species of fungi, a prop for climbing plants, a garden of mosses and ferns.
With luck, the Lone Oak will stand in Cornfield for centuries to come.
Pictures by DKG
There are three kinds of pigment in a usually green leaf: carotenes which are yellow, red and pink anthocyanins, and chlorophyll, which is the green that masks the other colours until autumn.
Oak trees produce thousands of acorns every year. Somebody has worked out that an oak tree can produce ten million acorns over its lifetime. In a good year, they carpet the ground under the tree.
The summer is over, the nights are drawing in and DKG has sent pictures of sycamore seeds among red leaves.
Click on any picture to enlarge it.
This is a picture of a bracket fungus on an oak tree in the park. The mycelium, which is the main part of the fungus, is growing invisibly inside the tree. This beautiful outgrowth is the fruiting body, part of the fungus’s reproductive system.
By Mary C.
It’s not an instruction to keep your coat on until June; it’s telling you to take your cardigan off when the may is in blossom, which has been known to happen as early as April.
For the last two years, a pair of blue tits has nested in a hole in an oak tree in one of the copses at the southern end of the park. There, they successfully raised broods of chicks under the watchful eye of DKG’s camera.