Tag Archives: oak trees

Autumn in the woods

Vote for your European Tree of the Year!

Do you remember back in October I was asking you to vote for England’s Tree of the Year? When all the votes were counted, in December the Major Oak in Nottingham’s Sherwood Forest was crowned as England’s favourite tree.

The Major Oak is now representing England in the 2015 European Tree of the Year contest. Why for England only and not the UK? Don’t worry, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are not missing out here, as each country has chosen its own tree.

Oak trees are my favourite tree, so I am extra pleased it was an oak tree that was chosen to be our Tree of the Year 🙂

The many colours of Oak bark
So many hues, from greens to purples, in this wonderfully textured Oak tree bark

What is the European Tree of the Year contest all about?

“We are not searching for the oldest, the tallest, the biggest, the most beautiful or the rarest of trees. We are searching for the most lovable tree, a tree with a story that can bring the community together.”

Now it is time to vote for our European Tree of the Year, from all of the nominated trees. As well as England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, trees from many countries across Europe are all competing for the European Tree of the Year title.

To see all of the nominated trees and cast your vote, please visit the European Tree of the Year website.

Voting closes on 28th February so please vote this week for your European Tree of the Year.

J Peggy Taylor

Spring waterfall tumbling over rocks

Water and Winter for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

To help kindle our creative fires for the ‘Water and Winter’ theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week, Cee gave this prompt :

“The Water energy is a strong generative force centered in the lower belly. When the Kidney Qi is strong, a person is fearless, determined, and can endure many hardships in pursuit of their goals. Persevering by will power is characteristic of those with strong Kidney Qi. The color for water is blue.”

The substance we know as ‘water’ is a crucial part of life here on Planet Earth. Water truly is a ‘strong generative force’ and it plays such a significant part in the cycle of the seasons. Thinking about the seasons always leads me to think about the natural world and its continual battle for life. In browsing through my archives to choose images for my challenge entry this week I was very much reminded of the hardships nature must endure just to survive, especially during the cold season of Winter. I was also struck by how different our ‘normal’ environments can appear when wrapped in Winter snow.

Oaks silhouetted in snow against pines
The clinging snow traced out the branches of this group of oak trees

This group of oak trees stood out against the dark green pines beyond. I noticed the way the snow had clothed the main branches of the trees. It looked as if the branches had been painted white. The thinner oak twigs retained their red-brown colour and contrasted with both the oaks’ snow-white branches and the darkness of the tall pines.

Soft snow decorates the twigs of this hazel thicket
Soft snow decorates the twigs of this hazel thicket

We often walk by this coppiced hazel. As with the oaks above, the snow has clung to the leafless twigs and branches, giving it a decorated effect. I love the way the snow highlights the underlying shape of this tree.

Winter sun silhouettes - trees and gate in snow
The low Winter sun gives little warmth on this snowy day as it silhouettes the gate and trees

There is a convenient bench just by this gate, on which woodland visitors may linger and look out across the valley. As you can see, this was not a day for sitting or indeed for lingering too long either. It was very cold, but the slowly setting Winter sun gleamed so beautifully across the snow-covered fields.

A heavy November snow fall
A heavy snowfall in November coloured the late afternoon with a snowy blue-grey gloom

This was the first of many snowfalls that Winter. The snow fell so thickly and so quickly. I took this photograph from our front door at around 4.30pm, during a brief interlude when the snow eased off a little. There was this eerie blue-grey light as we looked out eastwards towards the woods. It is very unusual for us to have snow on this scale even before November is out.

Hopefully our Winter this year will not be too harsh.

J Peggy Taylor