Tree time: July…

Phew, we made it to the last day of term! Things are a bit behind around here, but I’ve just stolen a few minutes to write up the latest from my daily tree project, before I pour a large glass of something red and delicious and head to the sofa.

This was the oak at the beginning of July


As the weeks go by and the hedges fill outwards and upwards, it’s getting harder to see the tree behind the green screen.

And here it is today (July 23rd) – the bird box is now almost invisible behind all the growth.


Seven months in and the best thing for me about this whole project so far, is that I’ve gone from sort of noticing what was going on around me, to really being interested and looking out every day for changes in the hedges and trees along our route. I’ve become much more aware of what’s growing where and the developing leaves, flowers and now fruits too. I wish there was a pet naturalist handy to come along on the odd walk and tell me more about what I’m seeing, but I’m definitely learning a lot about the local plant and animal/bird life.

A while ago, I realised that I’m inevitably going to want to be able to compare what I’ve seen this year with what happens next year. At first I tried keeping a daily diary – on paper and then digitally, but I just don’t have the time to keep up that pace, so I thought I’d try to do a summary here once in a while.

So the highlights of July on our daily walk have been…

IMAG6720_BURST001Seeing the baby conkers start to form.


But being concerned that the horse-chestnut trees already seem to have gone into autumn mode – they’re all like this, is that normal or are they ill?


Ok, you’re probably wondering why I’ve put this picture here. Well, until mid-July the whole lane was a mess of huge, dangerous pot-holes (which it has had for as long as I’ve been walking this route) Then one morning two weeks ago, as the dog and I stood clear of a fast approaching Audi, we watched him hit a particularly big hole and blow out his front tyre. I stopped to talk to him and he said the council should sort out the road – oh yes, I thought, and pigs will be sprouting wings any day now, but just look what happened a week later!

Mind you, it was a very patchy job to say the least, as you can see by the amount of water still filling the holes after the mid-month thunderstorms…


Can you see the squashed traffic cone in the hedge – it used to mark the biggest hole. You’d still be foolish to drive, walk or cycle in those puddles.

Talking of rain, we’ve certainly had our share this month. The lane becomes a fast-flowing stream – which I love, but the dog hates…

IMAG6901 IMAG6897

The sky has been wonderful


But perhaps the best part of the month has been watching the fruits arrive in the hedgerow…


elderberries, not ready yet, but there will be plenty.




and blackberries, although there are still a lot of brambles in flower.


These thistles are nearly over now, but I loved their shape and texture.


The lane feels more like a tunnel now that the hedges are so high. This was the lane in February


And today.


I think I may have become a tiny bit obsessed with all this 🙂



12 thoughts on “Tree time: July…

  1. I think it is a great idea to watch and compare as you are doing. It is all to easy to see but not look if you know what I mean and your photos are beautiful and make me feel I have been along that lane with you. I picked a couple of blackberries today – it seems very early but they were ripe and ready although as you said there were still blossoms on the brambles. I wonder if it is the dry warm weather we have been having (don’t know if you have had the same where you live?) which is making the horse chestnuts turn brown although they usually go yellow first don’t they? Worrying.

    1. The horse-chesnuts were the first trees to come into leaf, so I wondered if they were also the first to die off, but July seems early? Yes, although we had those amazing thunderstorms, it has actually been a long period of hot days, so maybe that’s what is doing it. All the other tree species seem fine. Glad you’re enjoying it, I’ve been so surprised by how much it’s drawn me in.

  2. That looks like the effects of the horse chestnut leaf-mining moth to me – – although it could be a really bad case of horse chestnut leaf blotch. Neither will ultimately harm the tree.

    I’m seeing a lot of plants fruiting early too – one of the trees here has ripe apples – and I’m hoping we aren’t due the kind of summer storms that can wipe out not quite mature fruit.

    1. Oh Annie, thank you, yes I’ve just read through the link and it’s exactly what it looks like. I’ve actually got other photos I took earlier in the summer and I’m sure that’s what it is. Thanks for the heads-up. At least it sounds as if the trees will be ok.

  3. Anny, your records and photos are amazing, and I love seeing them. It’s not an obsession, I think you have just tapped back into something we all lost – even 100 years ago, all these daily changes would have been noticed by people walking on their way to work or school, and they would have known what weather was to come, and how much fruit, and why the leaves were turning early, because it was their local patch and their grandfathers and great-grandfathers knew it too… now it’s all lost, and we are told to take notice of cars and smart phones. It’s good to see the blackberries, hazelnuts and conkers. I’ve been noticing lots of rowan berries around here, still orange but it won’t be long before they turn red.

    1. Thanks Jo, I must admit, I wish my Mum was still around to teach me more about the flora – she was a true country girl and knew so much, I wish I’d paid more attention when she talked about it, but I’m afraid it wasn’t top of my agenda back then. You’re absolutely right though, my mum never read a book about natural history, everything she knew must have been passed down through her family through the generations, and now our knowledge in just a generation or so is sadly diminished. I don’t think either of my girls are any more interested than I was at their age, I just hope there’s someone/something keeping it alight for the future.

  4. I’m late to the party but love seeing all thats growing and blooming on your walk. We get plenty of raspberries but no elderberries. Also, I vote leaf miner on the horse chestnut too. I’ve seen it around my neighborhood too.

    1. Sounds as though the leaf miner is very widespread. I’m sure that’s what it is, I compared other pictures I’d taken with the ones on the website and they’re identical. Our elderberries are beginning to turn black now. My dad used to make them into something he called wine, but which we thought should be marketed as a paint remover.

      1. That’s so funny! I’ve heard of elderberry wine. We used to get ‘gooseberries’ (which I think are related to currants) from my grandparents but they made them into jam, not wine. Atleast as far as we knew 😉

  5. The nature-watching thing does get addictive doesn’t it? But how quickly the time seems to have gone since you began your tree project. I guess if you got closer to it there’d be little acorns on it now.

    1. It certainly pulls you in, that’s for sure. I tried to see if I could spot any tiny acorns this morning, but the trees on the lane that I can get closer to didn’t seem to have them – although to be fair I might just not be able to see them yet – will keep my eyes pealed from now on!

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