Friday, 22 January 2016

Ladywell Fields Tree Walk: Part 1

This series introduces the twenty most interesting trees in Ladywell Fields. 
We start at the northernmost tip, at the entrance on Ladywell Road. Here is the first tree of interest, a Monterey Pine (1). This originates from California and in spring it has extraordinary flowers. Look out for the Firecrest, a small bird sometimes seen in the tree.

Just beyond the pine is a birch and behind that a young Black Walnut tree. It has large compound leaves that droop downwards. From the summer onwards look out for the walnuts which are green and sit at the leaf joints. They are edible but have very thick shells which require special nutcrackers. There is another, larger, Black Walnut further down by the river, but it is largely hidden from view.
Ladywell Fields has particularly fine Black Poplars which like the moist riverside setting. They are dioecious, meaning there are both male and female trees. You will see several as you walk along the river of the northern fields alongside the hospital. Just before the bridge into the hospital, notice the two large trees to your right, followed by a stump. These are old female Black Poplars (2) with small leaves that flutter in the breeze. Towards the end of May each year they shed a snow storm of seeds, forming a white carpet beneath. 

Walk further along and you will find more Poplar trees (3) to your left along the river. These have larger leaves are probably Hybrid Black Poplars. 

This content is based on the observations of an enthusiastic amateur. Any corrections and further suggestions will be gratefully received.