The South West of England has been blasted by storms over the last couple of weeks. Any straggling leaves on the trees are now long gone and we live in fear of a big tree falling over, its roots no longer able to hold on to the slippery, wet earth. Poor things. Assaulted by the winds above ground and washed away by the floods below ground. How do any of them manage to remain standing?
With these slightly gloomy thoughts in mind I was struck by the brightness of the paperbark birch which shows off luminously against the dark backdrop. During the spring and summer the leaf cover hides the beauty of this little tree but at this time of year it shines out brightly in the most watery of winter suns.
We have several different birches within the gardens. The biggest 'show off' is the Indian Paper birch (Betula Utilis var.Utilis) which sits by the Hatchery. There are very few examples in this country that are as old or as big as that particular tree. Having said that, this little tree proudly shows off the best in the Indian Paper birch's characteristics: stiffly upright, sparse leaves, papery peeling bark and a bright whiteness. Any day now the catkins will burst through.
And I couldn't resist a blue-sky view through the branches...how wintery and lovely is that?