Thursday, 8 February 2018


Alder tree flanked by Silver Birches opposite The Victoria Theatre in Halifax. UK.
I expect I will one day turn up to see 'my' tree and report on its monthly progress when the weather is sunny and bright for there are sunny and bright moments in the days. Many of them. But they don't necessarily coincide with when I am able to march to town with camera at the ready. But apart from missing the clarity of detail offered by a sunny morning I don't mind. This is winter.

And it's winter that's giving 'our' tree an opportunity to stand out. In summer these three trees merged into a green blob and the alder was invisible. The brown of its bark is dull and its trunk was permanently in shade. Overwhelmed by the brightness of the silver birches which flank it, their white bark flinging light in all directions, and their lighter branches and droopier leaves creating an elegant haze, it simply vanished. Completely unremarkable. But at the moment, in February, it's stolidness stands out against the hill in the background and the horizontal nature of its branches give it the feel of a pine that's dropped its needles. It's a small tree. At the moment though, with nothing much happening on either side, it looks bigger than it is.

Green/Grey Lichen on Alder in Halifax, UK.

Moving in . . . there are patches of lichen.

Yellow Lichen on Alder in Halifax, UK.

Some little flecks brighter than others. This is about four millimetres at its widest point but its lone splash of tiny colour immediately catches the eye and is of enormous significance in that it makes us look at the bark.

Lucozade bottle abandoned on icy, snowy, grass.

You won't like this. I think. No-body likes litter. Except sometimes I sort of do. Sometimes it's interesting. Like this abandoned Lucozade bottle which does for a manky patch of icy grass much as the little fleck of yellow lichen does for 'our' tree.

Rubbish plastic tearing to shreds in Alder tree.

But the whacking great bit of plastic that has been in this tree right from when I first met it has annoyed me. It's been pretty ugly and I've wished it wasn't there. But now it's beginning to disintegrate and becoming ribbony  it's becoming slightly festive. At least, in this light.

Silhouette of Alder catkins and lamposts against an evening sky.

And it's this light which is fading.

(I'll spare you a picture of the fairy lights.)

* * *

To see this tree over the last few months.



DECEMBER (One picture of inside a Street Plant Post.)


David Gascoigne said...

There is something about lichen on bark that is uniquely appealing. It's as though the tree has come of age.

liz said...

Lucy, That alder, whether from the angle at which you took it, or your other observations, really holds its own. It's sort of fun to find "incidental art" in the form of a Lucozade bottle at the foot of the tree. Lucozade brings back memories of my youth!

Jo said...

Such a shame to see plastic tied up in tree branches, that would really annoy me if I walked past it each day. I think you'll have to be quick if you want to take a photo in the sunshine, it's so fleeting at the moment. It was quite bright this morning but we've had a bit of rain and it's back to being dull again.

Anonymous said...

As always an interesting read and good pictures.
All litter is annoying, especially caught up in trees like that, but at least the bottles can be picked up. xx

Roger Brook said...

What an eyesore - that plastic up in the tree

Phil Slade said...

Well Lucy, I'm not sure I could do a blog post about trees, lichen and blowing in the wind. You have a very creative and inquisitive mind. Ant tomorrow if it stops raining I'm going to take a closer look at our lichen covered apple tree that's so attractive to Treecreepers.

Pat Tillett said...

What is Lucozade? You are truly a friend to this tree, and I hope it appreciates that fact...

Anonymous said...

That is a very attractive streetscape and the alder tree really makes it!
I so look forward to your monthly updates - and all the details, whether lichen or litter.
All the best :)

Imperfect and Tense said...

Whilst plastic litter can be made into thought-provoking art, I'm not so keen on the 'in situ' version. Following the BBC's Blue Planet II series, there seems to be, at least in this part of the world, a greater awareness of the harm litter can cause for wildlife and the responsibilty humankind has to clear it up. We now take an old carrier bag on our regular walk, spending as much time 'wombling' as nature watching. However, I am slightly envious of your lovely trees!

Hollis said...

The horizontal branches certainly are striking--not something we would see in our alders.

Susan said...

Not only do you take great photos, you're also a poet in blank verse.