Saturday 9 July 2016

Green Leaves

When we think of spring, we naturally think of colourful flowers: yellow daffodils and dandelions; white blackthorn and hawthorn; and the pink of freshly opened apple blossom.  These are the eye catching highlights of the season.  

Elder leaves
Young Elder Leaves

At the same time, there is a more lasting change taking place - from bare branches to green leaves.  It is a transition that goes by almost unnoticed; one day the trees are bare, the next, or so it seems, they are covered in leaves.  And, of course, the trees stay green until the following autumn.

For the second year, I have tried to photograph this transition, the mid point between bare wood and leaves, in Milton Country Park.  The main difficulty is capturing that moment when the buds have developed enough to show up green in the photograph, but not so far that only a confluent green mass can be seen.

It was only when I tried to do this last year, that I fully realised that not all trees go green at the same time. The first leaves to appear are those on the elder.  This year this was at the end of February.  The image at the top of this post was actually taken last year in April, which is probably a good indication of the difference in climate of the two years.

Field maple highlight among bare trees
South of Park - 27 March 2016

Another bush that gets its foliage early is the field maple.  This one was in a favoured position on the edge of the woods at the south end of the park.  Its bright green leaves stand out against the surrounding bare trunks and branches.

Veil of hawthorn leaves
By Play Area - 27 March 2016

The field maple in the previous picture was well separated from its background. More usually, the developing leaves are little more than a thin veil over the surrounding wood, clearly visible to the eye but often 'disappear' in a photograph.  This hawthorn is catching the early morning light which helps to accentuate the leaves.

Sticky buds gleam in the sunshine
South of Park - 3 April 2016

Not all buds are so indistinct.  The swelling sticky buds on this young horse chestnut were visible from some yards away.

Large oak tree bright yellow green dominates the path
Centre of Park - 19 April 2016

We tend to think of trees in terms of their colour only when they are in blossom, or, during the autumn.  The rest of the time we appreciate for their stature, form or age.  However, I think they can be impressive when the leaves are just fully formed and are a rich vibrant green.  I have particularly noticed it with oak trees this year.  The foliage of this one really stands out in the sunshine.

Path between bright green hawthorn bushes
By Wetlands - 1 May 2016

The same can also be said of the hawthorn.  Here the hawthorn is in bright contrast to the darker greens of the ivy and the tree trunks.

One for the Future

Young sycamore plant
By Wetlands - 8 April 2016

It does not take much searching to find young sycamore plants like this anywhere in the park.   

Next: Tree Blossom

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