trees in november . . . at hadlow

November 11, 2010

There’s a great specimen of Parrotia persica by the path that runs from the Design Studio to the main building on the Hadlow campus. Students and staff brush past this large shrub which is almost a tree about 6 times day. The current 3rd year, brushed up against a smaller specimen in Calverly Gardens, Tunbridge Wells this week on a survey visit for the Place and Culture project. No one could recognize the plant. Of course, their minds are on different things  – many research projects and the start of their major year long project – so recalling a certain plant is not top of their priorities at the moment. We’ve all looked at plants that we know perfectly well and been stumped for the name.  In a way, that’s the rationale behind this post, readjusting with the known but looking with fresh eyes.

Looking to the sky with one long deep breath . . . . hardly any leaves left on the Acer palmatum . . . . but with such a spectacular colourful finale in autumn, it must be exhausted and longing for dormancy.

Many berries still on Crataaegus prunifolia and fruits of a different sort on the pine.

The double borders are pinned down with 2 lines of fastigiate oaks. At the start of the journey down the borders, the naked stems of the pollarded pauwlonias echo the upright habit and encourage the eye skywards again.

A line of Alnus incana in front of the birch – all quite simply positioned but apposite. The torch looks great at the base of one shining upwards! So looking upwards, the last leaves on the cotinus flutter away.

And onto the Betula nigra group with the young branches still fairly smooth and tactile. Those who know these gardens will recognise the route I chose by the sequence of the images . . .

. . . the mature trunk and branches are wonderfully wrapped in the tissuey layer of peeling bark.

And the taxodiums are entering their quiet time. A good deal of this planting was instigated by Kemal Mehdi, a plantsman and an individual who influenced and inspired students and staff alike. He’s missed by many here including me but busy on his own garden now.

There is no Silence in the Earth — so silent
As that endured
Which uttered, would discourage Nature
And haunt the World.  Emily Dickinson

2 Responses to “trees in november . . . at hadlow”

  1. adele Says:

    yes Parrotia persica – that tree was on my mind all the way home! I could not wait to look it up as I was so frustrated with myself for not recalling its name- and sure enough when I did , I did the classic sigh and ”oh yes of course- its a Parrotia persica”

    a good call to recap on all the obvious trees that we see every day,
    thank you for the polite reminder!


    • julia fogg Says:

      Well, forgetting the odd plant name seems to happen more often with age but, then of course, I cheer myself up with the knowledge that the brain has to remember so many – 20 more each year? This is unique I think. Horticulturalist and designers have thousands of plant names catelogued in the brain. The most imporatnt thing is knowing how the conditions the plant likes so that it can survive. I think the oaks are Quercus petraea – sessile oak – finer leaf than Q.robur. Have fun, J

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