Six on Saturday: Can’t see the forest for the trees

Mr Carrot proved himself a worthy Valentine this week, by buying me a gift of The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I have only dipped into it so far, but the story it tells sounds quite extraordinary, about how trees look after one another, intertwine their roots and feed tree stumps that are members of their family long after they have been cut down.

Trees live for many centuries, making us human beings seem quite insignificant. I am also reading Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places and in his section on ‘Forest’, he suggests that elms, destroyed by Dutch elm disease, will probably return and thrive on the planet long after humans are gone.

By coincidence, the tree surgeons came this week to give our garden a haircut, so I thought that for this week’s six I would look up and feature some of the trees in our garden. The title is a nod to a line from one of my all-time favourite tracks, Different Drum by the Lemonheads.

I am eternally grateful to The Propagator for putting the time and energy into hosting Six on Saturday each weekend, where we showcase six things from our garden. Despite my best intentions, I am only managing to blog once a week at the moment and where better to do it than SOS?

  1. Pear tree
Pear tree against a cerulean sky

How blue is that sky? It has really felt quite spring-like during the day this week, although we have had frosts overnight. I have featured this pear before and although it has now had a nice trim we still face the same problem of how to reach fruit growing twelve feet up in the air.

2. Fig

Our fig tree is inviting to climb

This fig tree is one of the wonders of our garden. In the spring, before it has put on its voluminous green foliage, it is perfect for climbing. My eight-year-old daughter in particular loves to make a den up there with her cuddly toys. I like to think the tree enjoys having children play in it. It seems a very friendly creature, even if its fruit never ripens.

3. Bay

The bay tree grows up through our play pirate ship

The tree surgeons have given this bay tree at the back of our garden a nice rounded shape. We built our pirate ship play area around this tree, so it grows up out of it, creating a shady roof. I am planning to add bean bags and bunting to the pirate ship when the weather gets a bit warmer to tempt the children outside.

4. Holly

Holly hat

Our old holly tree is shaped a bit like a hat. It provides plenty of shade in summer and has a decoration of jasmine, which grows rampantly up through it in search of the sun.

5. Apple

Apple in an awkward corner

It is a little difficult to make out, but in the foreground, in front of the Viburnum bodnantense, is an apple tree. It has been fruitful every year since we moved in, although last summer it became quite cankered. This is an awkward corner. It is overgrown with ivy and raspberries and although this picture doesn’t really show, it can be quite shady. I am still unsure what to do with it to bring it to life.

6. Walnut

Our next-door neighbour’s venerable old walnut tree

The last tree in my six is not actually in our garden, but next-door. If ever a tree had character it is this enormous old walnut. I love to look out over it. It withstood the storms of 1987, but I’m not sure if it would survive another great storm as like an old lady it is starting to look a little unsteady on its feet.

That’s my six for this week. I hope you enjoyed them and please do remember to visit The Propagator and his followers. It is so illuminating to find out what is happening in others’ gardens around the world.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. I do have a couple of small bay trees and a fig tree in a pot – yours rather dwarf them! We have not had any edible figs from our tree but, like you, there are plenty of little ones that just fall off! We have friends who have grown their fig tree up the front of the house and it yields 50 or 60 perfect figs each year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know why we never get ripe figs – lucky friends!


  2. I recommend pruning and shaping the apple and trying to give it some light

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The tree surgeons pruned it so hopefully that will help! Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fingers crossed. The root system will be established and the tree should be fine

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What brilliant book recommendations! I heard this recently about trees taking care of one another – so much to learn!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve got some lovely trees there Ciar. That walnut next door is a stunner despite her venerable age. I planted a walnut last year but it’s a young whipper snapper compared to that one. It has some growing to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One Man And His Garden Trowel says:

    You can’t beat trees for character. The bay tree looks immaculate. A number of trees on our estate have been chopped down over the past few years and they’re never replaced. It’s sad as you don’t realise how much you ‘borrow’ them as part of your own view.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. March Picker says:

    The importance of trees in our gardens can’t be overstated. You have a great collection. I’m sure your tree surgeon told you so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Heyjude says:

    Love your trees. Especially the shapely holly! I might give my bay tree a bit of a cut too and try and round it off. Hope you continue to have the sun, we had one day and then back to dull and foggy 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. fredgardener says:

    You don’t have the sun and the warm weather that I have here in the West Indies, but I enjoyed admiring your really nice pictures with this blue sky. Ok…, I’m sending you some heat!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    The Hidden Life of Trees is one of my favorite books – I found it so fascinating. I have his latest book on order and hope it will be equally good.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I love your bay tree. I have planted two and am hoping to eventually have them looking like yours. Your holly creates a most attractive umbrella: must be lovely in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve been working through The Hidden Life of Trees for a while. It’s a great book, indeed! Beautiful pictures of your property!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I’m looking forward to reading it properly!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. cavershamjj says:

    That sounds like an interesting book. Lovely tree photos, Carrots.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. tonytomeo says:

    All trees this week! Much of my work is inspecting trees and assessing the work of other arborists, so it is probably better than I can not see the details of yours too clearly. Is your bay tree the Laurus officinalis? I know you told me before, but I do not remember. It is probably the only species of bay available there.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Keith says:

    Beautiful, I really enjoyed that. I love the way that you can appreciate the form of older trees at this time of year. My daughters would really like me to plant ‘a good climbing tree’ but they might have to wait a long time until they have children to really appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

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