Right now, at the beginning of January, you would be easily excused for not paying much attention to this tree. It is rather unassuming and blends right in with it's background. If you blink, you'd miss it! This tree was chosen because of it's ultimate size, the other deciding factor was that it was attractive to wildlife. It has been in my garden for 10 months now and despite it's size, last year, it put out a fair amount of blossom. The tree had yellow berries, or as they are rightly called pomes, this past Autumn. I didn't take long for the blackbirds to find them. It had always been my understanding that birds will always show a preference for red berries before making a start on orange and yellow ones. Yet in my garden, despite the fact that there is an abundance of red berries on other plants, this tree's yellow berries were cleared first.
Not long after I got this tree in the ground, one of my cats took a fancy to it and claimed it as his personal scratch pole. I've managed to discourage him by placing a coiled rabbit guard round the section he was using. This has worked a treat. The guard is flexible in design and will expand as the tree grows over the years. It is my intention to under plant this tree with some spring bulbs as it matures. It would be a such a shame not as this is such a sunny wee site. Some of my clumps of G. nivalis will be ready for dividing this year, they will be the first added.
|Young green/bronze bark|
The bark of this young tree would be best described as green/bronze with a delicate sheen. Of course, the usual Rowan markings are obvious. The picture doesn't really show the sheen of at it's best.
The buds, are as you'd expect them to be at this time of the year, tightly closed. Those red buds will soon burst open and to produce those long slender leaves, bringing the tree to life. This tree was the prime perch for many of last year's fledgling birds. It provided shelter for the little ones and with the feeders placed nearby for the adult birds convenience - I'm sure it saved those exhausted parents a lot of effort.
S. Autumn Spire is given a southerly aspect here in the garden. Full sun for most of the year, except for a few weeks either side of the winter solstice when the sun isn't quite high enough to get over the top of nearby houses. Although not a particularly open site, it can get a bit windy. A couple of times a year this area can get a bit water logged. The label recommends it is wet tolerant. The soil is workable and holds adequate moisture for the rest of the year. Soil conditioners and spent compost has been added over the years. I have previously lost a few shrubs from this spot in the garden, due to the aforementioned conditions. I hope I've made a better choice with this plant. I had noted that some of the Rowans that grow along the river at the end of the road can often have their roots under water for days, if not weeks, on end when the river is high. I hope this tree can cope just as well as those.
Throughout history, many cultures have cherished trees believing them to have magical and sacred powers. None more so than the Rowan Tree here in Scotland. It's connection with beliefs, myths and tales are widespread. One of the more familiar cultural beliefs, not only here in Scotland but elsewhere, is that having a Rowan Tree growing by your front door or garden gate is said to ward off witches. Branches of the Rowan tied above a door will keep the very same witches at bay. Pieces of Rowan hung above stable doors were said to prevent the witches entering the stables and taking the horse for a midnight ride. There are even instances in property law here in Scotland, where it is forbidden to remove a Rowan Tree from a particular property. It is said to be bad luck to cut or fell a Rowan Tree. However, wood from fallen trees were traditionally used to make walking sticks, spinning wheels, spindles and tool handles. Bark and berries are also used to dye garments. I have read that the red of the rowan berries was the inspiration behind the red colouring of tartan plaids.
In the highlands of Scotland, Rowan Trees are often the only remaining clue that a Croft once stood on a site. The Rowan Tree features in the Celtic tree Calendar in which each of the 13 lunar months is represented by a tree with magical powers. Caorunn (pronounced ka-roon) is the Gaelic word for the Rowan Berry. The abundant planting of Rowans planted in the north of Scotland attracts large flocks of migrating birds, especially waxwing, redwings and fieldfares, from Scandinavia in winter.
Would you believe that until recently Scotland did not have a national tree. In 2013 a 3 month consultation was launched, supported by a wide range of agencies, to decide which tree would be designated as such. The Rowan tree came runner up to the Scot's Pine proving it's familiarity and popularity in our culture.