Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut leaf today. On a sapling. The leaves are larger than a man’s hand, deeply segmented and split into seven sections. The tree will grow very large and when it starts to flower it will grow large white flowering bracts. Then in the autumn it develops nuts called Conkers. These are encased in a spikey shell that you have to peel off. This is the thing that children make holes through and then use to play the game conkers. Basically each person has one of them. They drill or pierce the nut with a skewer fron the top to the base. It is then threaded onto a string. Two children / people stand opposite each other. One holds up their conker and swings it at the other one. If it hits it can either knock the other conker or split it. If it doesn’t break the other person takes a turn. The conker is called a “one-er” if it survives. Each time it doesn’t break the number goes up, so “two-er” and so on. Some people bake conkers or soak them in vinegar to strengthen them.

So basically when you hear about a game of conkers that’s what it is. The trouble comes when you try and get them off the trees. We have a row of them on the main road. Children throw sticks and stones up at the branches to get them down which can be a hazard if you walk or drive underneath them.

Camellia

Beauty on a spring morning. Petals turned toward the sun. Glistening pink surfaces. Yellow/orange centres. They look edible, like gorgeous sweets. Crisp and crunchy, or like cupcake icing. Sugar lumps of tasty colour. Then the dark green shining leaves. They add a polished background to their jewel like flowers. How strong they grow in early spring. The frost sometimes nibbles petal and leaf. But on a bright sunlight morning, what better sight.

Fig tree leaves

Our fig tree that grows alongside the house is well sheltered and has got rather tall this year. The leaves are really big and are just starting to fall off. The one on the ground still looks healthy and green. The laurel bush is towering over everything and really needs cutting back but we don’t have the skills or the strength to do it.

So all in all the garden is thriving. We need to maintain it bit it’s our wild haven. I will maybe post more photos as the year turns.

Leaf like a skull

It’s withered, like a dead skull, on York stone pavement. Crumbling, dried, sad. Losing colour, frayed round the edges. On a thin stem, fallen from a great height, spiralled down from the highest treetop. Remember when you were a bud? Barely broken out of your twig…? Then you swelled as rain fell onto the ground. Expanding green, growth, sucking in sunlight. Changing it to sugars. Then the cold wind bit, frost grew on your surface, ice crept into your veins. Ended, you fell. You will be dust soon, forgotten.