April 07, 2014

My tree in April

twin hickories

Garden and nature bloggers from around the world are participating in Loose and Leafy's "tree following" meme. I'm honored to be part of the celebration. As many of you know, I'm following the Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata).

Changes from March to April are subtle, but springtime is definitely at work. I've included captions with each photo.

bald spot3
I often worry about the "bald spots" on the bark after the winter,
but it's a natural process of shedding each year.

bald spot2
A closer view of a "bald spot."

moss1
A healthy crop of moss and lichen.

bark2
The peeling bark is even more dramatic from the side.

bark
Indiana bats roost in this bark, although I've never seen one here.

big piece
Another dramatic strip of bark.

cardinal
A cardinal in the neighbor's yard sang to me while I was photographing the trees.

feeders
I suppose the cardinal wanted me to move away from his food.

robin
This robin was very tame, taking a bath about four feet away from me and the Shagbarks.

perch
This perch is a common squirrel hangout, although I didn't see one there today.

buds
The buds are starting to swell. They'll look dramatically different next month.

bud1
The buds on Shagbark Hickories go through a dramatic transformation during the spring.
Soon they'll look like large, dramatic "candles."

bud2
A closer look at a puffy bud.

profile
Soon, this view will be totally different. I'll share it again next month.

Head on over to Loose and Leafy's blog to learn about other fascinating trees.

And just a note that I might be slacking off a little with blogging and blog visits for a couple of weeks. I'm just trying to catch up with work, gardening, family priorities, and some special garden projects, which I'll share with you soon!

54 comments:

  1. Great closeup of the robin. One was in my yard yesterday and did not fly off either. I never saw robins refuse to fly off like that either. I can understand catching up with the garden chores. Now we have rain instead of snow and chores are still waiting to be attended.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. The robins are everywhere this year. I guess that's true every year, but I don't know--it just seems like there are more out on the lawns and parks this year. And they do seem more tame for some reason. I always get a little overwhelmed this time of year when it starts to be warm enough to work outside, so I have to start getting real on what I can accomplish in 24 hours. ;-)

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  2. What a magnificent tree with such gorgeous bark. Your robin is lovely but he doesn't look anything like our robins.

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    1. I'm surprised that our robins would be different. I'll have to do a little visual research. ;-)

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  3. It's interesting to follow the plant growth progress. Even more something that I could not find here.

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    1. I agree. I'm enjoying this meme to see how trees change and grow through the seasons, in locations around the world.

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  4. How I wish I lived where there were Cardinals! I love their deep red coloring. You can almost hear "your" tree saying: "I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille!" Gorgeous bark. I don't know if you recall my post from last spring of the robins fledged from 6 inches at the front door--it was something I'll never forget. Apparently Robins can be quite tame. We are doing a major remodel, so I understand the need to take time off! Good luck with your projects.

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    1. I think we take the cardinals for granted around here. They're very plentiful like the robins, and they hang around all year. Gosh, Susie, I can't even imagine tackling a remodel. That must be so disorienting. Good luck!

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  5. That's a tree species I wouldn't have heard of. Interesting birth and a beautiful red visitor!

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    1. Shagbarks are common around here, but they aren't as plentiful as Oaks and Maples. I didn't know much about them until we moved here 14 years ago.

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  6. It's one of the most extraordinary trees I've seen pictures of. I hadn't appreciated, before this post how beautiful its overall shape is.

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    1. I'm a big fan--for many reasons. It's good for wildlife, shade, and aesthetic appeal. Plus, the buds are so fascinating in springtime.

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  7. What an interesting tree. The bark is amazing. I look forwards to seeing how it transforms as the season progresses. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog.

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    1. Hi Grace: Aesthetically, the bark is wonderful year-round, but the most dramatic time of year for the Shagbark Hickory is mid- to late-spring, when the buds open. They're quite large, and they look like candles in the tree. :)

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  8. Yes the bark is lovely and such wonderful shots of the tree.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. Do you have some Shagbarks on your property, too? I'm heading over to "see" you on your blog. :)

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  9. I am so in love with trees! They are so important for our planet that all work done to help them is precious. Your tree is beautiful even naked.

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    1. I agree, Lula. Sometimes we take them for granted, but they're so much more valuable than we realize.

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  10. you've some beautiful shots of a tree unknown the me in the UK (other than 'to kill a mockingbird' and Mr Cunningham bringing hickory nuts in payment). Look forward to watching it throught the year with you

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    1. Thanks! "To Kill a Mockingbird" is my favorite novel, but I'm embarrassed to say I forgot about the Hickory nut connection. I've always assumed the husks are hard to crack, but I just read a source that says they're not too difficult to open. So, I'll have to try some this fall ... if I can get to them before the squirrels do! :)

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  11. Remarkably wonderful bark, plenty t hold the interest while waiting for those buds to swell more and start to open. I can just imagine bats nesting in those fissures, I've never seen anything quite like it.

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    1. It is unique. Our native forests and openings around here were and still are dominated by Oaks, but Hickories are very common among the Oaks--just not quite as plentiful. It's really fun having two Hickories right outside my kitchen window. :)

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  12. This was a wonderful post, and I learned so much about your Shagbark Hickory tree. It is beautiful especially with the moss on the bottom. Enjoy your time in the garden.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. I love the moss, too. It's always nice to have some green showing in late winter and early spring when everything else is brown and gray. So I'm a big fan of moss. Enjoy your beautiful garden, too!

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  13. These are some beautiful captures of the trees. The bark and moss are so interesting and add such character. Your close up of the robin is well done...nice shot!

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    1. Thank you, Lee. That little robin seemed to want his photo captured. It was fun to watch him take a bath. I should have captured more shots of him, but I was rushed to get back to work in the middle of the day.

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  14. Hi Beth, lovely and informative post. Some of our trees have that chatacteristics too but not as dramatic and as intense as those!

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    1. Thanks, and I know you have some amazing trees and plants in your part of the world. I so enjoy checking out your blog for information on plants I've never heard of, and to see your beautiful photography!

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  15. I don't have too many shagbark hickorys here. Mostly white pine and oak. I do love that shaggy bark though and it is exciting to watch the buds swell on all the trees and shrubs..

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    1. We have lots of Oaks, but not much Pine. I love the smell of Pine, though--so refreshing! I agree--budding just before bud-break is fascinating to watch!

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  16. I'm glad to know that bald spots on trees are part of the normal process of shedding; I always worry when I see these on some of my trees. Isn't it great to see the buds on your hickory? Spring has been so slow in coming this year, that these are such welcome signs.

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    1. The Shagbarks, in particular, regularly shed their bark. And I was reading today that some people make syrup from the bark. Sounds like a good topic for a future post. ;-)

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  17. Oh my goodness what a tree - like a monument! Strong and beautiful! Love those old persons!
    Have a wonderful time
    Elisabeth

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth! I agree, trees are living monuments, and they definitely have personalities. Thanks for your beautiful words!

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  18. Beth, I still would like to stretch out and touch that bark!
    Looking forward to seeing the transformation till next month – oh and the robin in the birdbath was so sweet, I don’t think I have seen them in my birdbath yet – mine tend to be hogged by larger birds like magpies, blackbirds and woodpigeons. I don’t think the smaller birds dare to come for a splash!

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    1. Hi Helene: Yes, it's really unique. I've covered the bark enough now I guess. ;-) Next month, it will be all about the buds. The robins seem plentiful and very tame this year--not sure what that means. The backyard is now turning into its normal spring/summer/fall zoo. Sounds like you have lots of bird activity, too!

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  19. I absolutely love shagbarks! It's on my list of trees to plant in my garden in the coming year or two. Thanks for letting us follow along in the year of the shagbark!

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    1. Yay! It's a good choice for most of the U.S.--especially east of the Rockies. So it should fit right in your garden. I read somewhere that some tree experts are recommending that Shagbarks are among good replacements for trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer.

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  20. What a gorgeous tree, and I am pretty sure that I have never seen one like that around here, it's so unusual. I am going to have to look it up and see if it will grow up here.

    Jen

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    1. I just checked on the UBC Botanical Garden website, and they say it's native to small parts of Ontario and Quebec. But I would guess you could grow one in a B.C. garden. They do have very deep taproots--just something to keep in mind for placement.

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  21. Beautiful shots of the bark especially with the moss. This is a tree I would love to have in place of the Siberian elm in by back garden.

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    1. We're very happy with the ones in our garden. They can be a bit messy with the shedding bark and then the falling nuts in the fall, but it's worth it for the benefits to wildlife and for the aesthetic value. Frankly, the squirrels gather most of the nuts before we can even get to them. :)

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  22. I love this tree. Captivating in every way. You totally deserve a break from blog world. I think you are the best commenter around! I hope your time away is very productive. Enjoy and I hope the weather cooperates.

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    1. I guess it's a close second to Redbud on my favorites list, among trees currently in my garden. Thank you for your kind words, Kathleen. I'm just cutting back a bit, but still slipping in and out during the next couple of weeks. We are going back to winter weather for the next couple of days after having summer-like weather last week! Oh well, that's part of the springtime give and take. I hope spring is treating you well.

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  23. I love bark not less than I love foliage on trees. This tree has beautiful bark! Very masculine, if I can use this word.

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean about it being masculine. I'm not sure why, but it makes sense. The bark on Shagbarks keeps shifting and changing, which makes it interesting to observe.

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  24. Sorry I haven't been around. What a great idea to follow a tree, and I love shagbark. I feel better about the holes in the bark because they worried me too.

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    1. No problem, Carolyn--I know you must be incredibly busy with your nursery business. Sounds like you have some Shagbarks on your property, too?

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  25. Great photos! Shagbark is a great tree with a lot of character. I love its shaggy bark appearance! I also think its a great idea to follow a tree.

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    1. Hi Deb: It's not to late to join the tree following--if you haven't already! With our recent cold snap, the buds aren't changing much, but I hope to show some progress by the next tree following on May 7.

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  26. Very interesting. I thought eucalyptus was the only tree that shed its bark but that's because it doesn't shed its leaves. But your tree sheds both the bark and the leaves? I wonder why...

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    1. Yes, good point! I'll have to check on the thoughts about why the Shagbark Hickory sheds both--perhaps content for a future post in the Tree Following meme? ;-) Thanks!

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  27. What an amazing tree Beth. The bark is enough to get me swooning and make me want one in the garden...can't wait to see more as the seasons progress.

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    1. The Shagbarks are native to your area, too, and our climates are similar, so I'm sure a Shagbark Hickory would be very happy in your lovely garden, Donna. :)

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