You can find this little lane sheltered by old lindens in Vaassen (The Netherlands). It’s called ‘Kersendijkje’, Cherry dyke. (No idea though where that name came from. You won’t find any cherry trees along this dyke). The lane is right next to Cannenburgh Castle. I was told many teenagers in this village share their first kiss under these trees. It does make sense: the lane is totally sheltered from spying eyes. I just love the way the trees are leaning.
Last week, I spotted a tree with white, tulip-like flowers in the Botanic Garden in Oxford. This weekend I discovered they have a true tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) as well. The name doesn’t give it away, but it belongs to the magnolia family.
The pale green buds and the flowers, light green with a bit of orange, are not always easy to spot between the leaves.
White tulip-like flowers sheltered by large green leaves. What type of tree is this?, I wondered. I had once seen a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and this one evidently a different type of tree.
After a while, I spotted the sign: Magnolia sieboldii subsp. sinensis. Chinese magnolia in common English.
One interesting detail: the tulip tree belongs to the magnolia family as well.
Last week, in the Oxford Botanical Garden I came across a tree that seemed to be surrounded by used white handkerchiefs or tissues. Looking up, I found that the little white sheets had actually fallen from the tree.
A sign by the tree identified it as a Davidia involucrata. It originates from China and is commonly known as handkerchief tree, dove tree and ghost tree.
It is a lovely sight, to see the bracts fluttering in the wind like white doves or pinched handkerchiefs.
Some unfolding leaves this time. I love the sight of them.
As for the type of leaves: I think they’re sycamore, but I’m not sure there.
A single pine tree in a sea of heather creates a strong contrast. It’s a great sight, even in spring, when the shrubs are not in their prime.
Heather fields, little lakes, forest, and blue skies: great ingredients for a hike around the Renderklippen, a nature reserve in the Netherlands.
Trees with young leaves display a range of colours.
The magnolia has been my favourite flowering tree since childhood. Last weekend I visited the Botanic Garden in Oxford for the first time and was lucky enough to catch the magnolia while the sun was shining.
The Prunus trees in front of our house and along the river Thames are in full bloom this week.
Beachy Head is famous for its white chalk cliffs extending over 150 meters above sea level. They are beautiful, and deadly. Crosses near the cliff edge remind visitors of that fact.
Some people slip because they get too close to the edge. There are warning signs and a negligible fence made from a single wire, but only at the highest point.
Unfortunately, Beachy Head is a well-known location for suicide attempts. Organisations such as the Samaritans and the Beachy Head Chaplaincy patrol the cliffs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They reach out to people, encourage them to seek help, and often succeed in preventing suicide.
This morning I wanted to open the curtains to a snowy white world. My sister did, in the Netherlands. But no luck here in Oxford.
So, I went back to a day in February 10 years ago when I had a wonderful walk from my house to Paleis het Loo. While it was snowing.
On a foggy winter day, visitors of Blenheim Palace can only guess at the grandeur of the place. Dimensions are lost. Vistas are obscured.
The scene is gift wrapped in mist, waiting for the sun to reveal it. The monumental house, park and gardens.
We’ll revisit in spring or summer.