I often take photographs of what I refer to as ‘My Oak Tree’. Of course the old oak tree isn’t mine, it is part of nature. The tree isn’t even in my garden; it is in the garden beyond the bridle path that runs behind my house. I am very fond of the tree and it provides beauty and interest throughout each of the seasons of the year. It is now so large that its branches completely span the bridle path and reach into the back corner of my garden.
A recent comment on my blog mentioned that it was a shame about the ivy growing on the trunk because it would kill the tree. I used to think that too but, since I first thought that several years ago, the tree has grown around 10 feet (3.048 meters) and I noticed many trees in Shropshire sharing their space with ivy so I have dismissed the idea.
After the recent blog comment I decided to check the facts. I found that ivy is not a parasite and it does not kill the tree. The aerial roots are not penetrative and the ivy’s roots are firmly in the ground beneath the tree. The relationship between tree and ivy is symbiotic. The ivy attracts wildlife so the oak tree is always full of life. Visitors to my tree include blue tits, great tits, coal tits, wrens, sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons, insects and, on one memorable occasion, a poplar hawk-moth descended and settled on me just above my waist. This was quite alarming because poplar hawk-moths are quite large (wingspan 65-90 mm). Luckily it didn’t flap around like moths normally do; it just glided in and came to rest gently. It was coaxed off me and went to settle inside the kitchen for a short time before going back to its natural habitat outside.
I have both memories and photos of beautiful sunsets through the branches of the tree and of sitting in the garden watching the sun go down. Of hearing the leaves rustle in the wind watching the seasons go by. Of the rebirth of the leaves and buds in spring, the green of summer, the autumnal hues followed by the winter view. The weather in autumn determines how quickly the dead leaves fall from the tree; in some years the winter view is bare branches or, in others, there is a golden glow throughout winter due to the leaves not falling from the branches.
I have always had a fondness for trees because of many childhood walks where my dad encouraged me to identify different trees by their bark and leaves. I have got a bit rusty on tree identification since then but I still enjoy woodland walks and immersing myself in the beauty of magnificent trees and the wildlife they attract.