Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s about as perfect as a day can get around here. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the air is warm with just a gentle breeze and all the growing things are happy. Jack and I took to the woods this morning and this afternoon we’ll be out in the yard. The forecast for the whole weekend is supposed to be just like today, which is perfect. I have an old friend visiting from Cobourg tomorrow and I’m planning a picnic by the lake for us on Sunday. A little homemade potato salad, some lovely crusty rolls with real butter (I’m usually not allowed, but it’s a special occasion), some six bean salad, crudités with a sour cream and bacon dip, fried chicken, a good old chedder, grapes, cherries, watermelon, and a strawberry pie. Yum!

I hope everyone has a good weekend and if you get a chance plan a picnic for yourself.

Tree Tuesday

I’ve had the Monkey Puzzle Tree on my list of trees to share with you so I was delighted to receive these photos in our mail this week. It comes from Lofty and it’s a splendid specimen.

An interesting tree that was planted in a local park over 100 years ago, a South American “Monkey Puzzle” tree.

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

The tree was given the name “Monkey Puzzle” in about 1850 by a British Barrister named Charles Austin who remarked upon seeing the tree in an English garden “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” The tree had no common name at the time and so monkey puzzle stuck. The tree is a long-lived conifer and is now cultivated in temperate zones world-wide. Unfortunately, in its home range of South America the tree is on the Endangered list because of logging and fires. – source: Wikipedia

Thanks Lofty. Your timing was spot on.

Tree Tuesday

Forestscape by photographer Manuelo Bececco – source

Once or twice a year I get down on the forest floor to take a few photos of the tall trees in our wee Carolinian Forest. I love the perspective. I’m not the only one it seems who like to look up. Italian photographer Manuelo Bececco has created a stunning group of forest photographs by pointing his camera up.

“In the middle of the woods, I seem to see everything in my own way—giant trees or branches that form barriers, irises of the eyes,” Bececco tells My Modern Met. “These are things that I only see in my mind and that I can sometimes turn into photographs.”

Photographed across different seasons and different times of day, the forest’s changing ambiance is expertly harnessed by Bececco. The Italian photographer is able to use the light, and the mood it generates, to his advantage and capture a mystical moment in the quiet of the woods. This forest photography is deeply personal for Bececco, as each photograph is inspired by an important time in his life. And for him, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see how well it’s been received by the public.

I’ve included a few of his photos here to whet your appetite, but I encourage you to check out the link at My Modern Met to see the entire grouping. Mr. Bececco has captured not only the many moods of the forest, but also the deeply felt emotions that being amongst such giants elicits. My thanks go to rq for pointing this story my way.

Forestscape by photographer Manuelo Bececco – source

Forestscape by photographer Manuelo Bececco – source

Forestscape by photographer Manuelo Bececco – source

 

Story courtesy of My Modern Met

Tree Tuesday

One of our readers has recently moved back to Canada from Mexico and they’re missing the blooming of their favourite tree, the Royal Poinciana also known as the Flamboyant Tree. It’s easy to see why the these trees would be missed. Many people consider the Royal Poinciana to be the most beautiful flowering tree in the world. Native to Madagascar the trees were introduced to Mexico in the 19th century and quickly came to be loved.

In Yucatan, these beautiful flowering trees became favorite ornamental trees to grow near Mayan huts, villages, urban avenues and parks.  Its orchid shaped deep orange-red flowers are truly exquisite, one petal is different from the rest with light tone and deep shades of orange magenta spot; flowers grow in clusters, blooms in May and summer the Flamboyan trees are fully covered with flowers without their pinnae leaflets (foliage). Flamboyan seeds grow in large “machete like” hard pods.

Mexico is only one of many warm climates where the Flamboyant tree has prospered. According to Wikimedia the Royal Poinciana is now successfully cultivated worldwide in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

The blooming of the royal poinciana is certainly an event to be celebrated as its flowers are large, bright and plentiful.

The flowers of the royal poinciana are large and normally a shade of yellow, orange, or bright red. Each flower has four spreading petals that measure up to 3 inches (about 8 cm) in length and a fifth petal called the standard that is upright and a little bigger than the other petals. The standard is distinctive because of its white and yellow spots. Another common name of the royal poinciana is peacock flower because the physical appearance of the flowers is similar to that of a peacock with its feathers up.

Because of its size and wide umbrella shape the royal poinciana is an excellent shade tree and is beloved wherever it grows. There is also research being done that shows the plant has much more to offer than just beauty and shade. Studies have found anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties along with an ability to increase wound healing and aid in glucose tolerance in diabetic mice. If you’re interested, the article linked below at the Liliana Usvat blog also offers information on the propagation of the tree and the current research studies being done on the plant.

via – Liliana Usvat – Reforestation and Medicinal use of the trees

Jack’s Walk

A trio of beauties, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Pink! ©voyager, all rights reserved

It is a dreary, rainy day here and tomorrow is scheduled to be the same. Overall, this has been a much wetter spring than we’re used to and at this point I think the growing things would rather have sunshine. I would, too. Jack and I did manage to get to the park before the heavy rain started and we saw our first goslings of the year, but mamas and papas were closely on guard so we kept our distance. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. We did find these beautiful trees in blossom and they lit up my day. I’m not sure what they are. They look like cherry blossoms, but I couldn’t find anything to identify them. They were planted a few years ago and this is the first time I’ve seen flowers. To be honest, I’ve mostly ignored them until now. The light in the photos is grim, but I haven’t got the energy to play around and try to fix it. Even in bad light, though, they’re beautiful. I like the way the willows in the background accent the pink. I suppose this is what the parks department had in mind when they were planted and they just needed time to grow up a bit.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s leaf day! Around our house that means that the baby leaves are finally big enough to camouflage the highschool up the street. There’s nothing wrong with the highschool, they keep it well maintained, but I prefer to look at leaves. The city where I live plants a lot of trees free of charge. Technically they sit on city land (which is about 5 meters in from the center of the street), but they become the property and responsibility of the homeowner. About 20 years ago they planted red maples down my street and I happened to be home when they got to my house. It was near 5 pm and it had obviously been along day for the lads. There were only 2 trees left in their trailer and they were about to plant one of them in my side yard when I decided to ask if I could have them both. One fellow looked at the trees, looked at my yard, looked back at the trees again and shrugged. “Sure, why not” he said as he grabbed his shovel and started to dig. For once, I was in the right spot at the right time and was bold enough to open my mouth and ask for what I wanted. And it worked. Those 2 trees are now big and strong and shade my house all day long. Lucky me.

Tree Tuesday

©voyager, all rights reserved

The effects of human-caused increased greenhouse gases were predicted as early as the turn of the 20th Century and according to the Ivan Semeniuk of the Canadian Globe and Mail a NASA study of tree rings from the last 120 years is helping to prove out this theory.

In 1896, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius made a prescient calculation that showed the vast quantities of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning coal and other fossil fuels would eventually cause the planet to get warmer.

Little did he realize that the effect he described was already under way and being dutifully recorded by a ready-made monitoring system distributed around the globe in the form of trees.

The growth record of trees is recorded in their rings and this growth is highly sensitive to changes in moisture.

Tree rings are among the most direct ways of measuring past climate because trees are sensitive to soil moisture. In drier years, trees grow more slowly and the annual rings that are recorded in their trunks become narrower. By comparing overlapping tree-ring patterns in wood that grew at different times on different continents, scientists have gradually built up “drought atlases” that show changes in moisture distribution dating back to the year 1400 or, in some areas, even earlier.

Drought atlases are nothing new, but using trees to measure the effects of drought across time and region is new science and it’s showing some startling trends.

The scientists found that after centuries of normal variations during which some places alternately became wetter or drier relative to each other, an additional effect on moisture emerged around 1900 that is consistent with climate change. Over all, the data show that much of North America, Australia and the Mediterranean have been getting drier over the past 120 years while parts of Asia, including India and western China, have been getting wetter.

The effect was especially pronounced during the first half of the 20th century, but became more subdued between 1950 and 1975. Since then, it has accelerated. The scientists posit that a huge increase in the release of sulphates and other airborne chemicals in the postwar era served to temporarily counteract the effect of greenhouse gases by deflecting sunlight and promoting cloud formation. This countertrend later subsided after air-quality regulations went into effect in North America and Europe.

The results of this study help confirm that human activity is directly related to global climate change, although trees in the southern hemisphere were not included because their growth patterns are not as seasonally visible.

So it seems that trees are helping to relate the story of climate change in new ways. I’m not surprised. Trees have proven to be one of mankind’s best natural resources and now they’re talking to us in ways we can understand. Whether people will listen is another matter.

 

Via: The Globe and Mail, May 2/19, Ivan Semeniuk