Last year I kept track of a hornbeam in Llandaff Fields in Cardiff, as part of Lucy Corrander’s wonderful tree following project, revisiting it every month and totally falling in love with the specimen that chose me. In January I have been searching for a new tree for 2015.
While Llandaff Fields are full of more-or-less native species, the Bute Park Arboretum in the centre of Cardiff, behind the castle, has many exotics alongside some champion native trees. I decided to explore, as I don’t know the park very well at all.
In this post I will show you the trees I didn’t decide to follow this time – although I am sure I will keep an eye on them occasionally as the seasons change.
Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
There are many beeches in Bute Park – quite tempting as a tree to follow, but I feel I know the species quite well already and anyway the canopies are very high and the bark, although beautiful, is a bit too smooth for mosses and lichens to take a hold (and I do love mosses and lichens).
London plane (Platanus x hispanica)
I think I can recognise plane trees, especially if they still have their fruits on the branches.
Also see the plane-tree picture at the top of this post.
But this next tree puzzles me. The arboretum people, when I gave them the tree’s number, from a metal badge on its trunk, said it was a London plane. But I’m not convinced. There are no fruit remaining and the bark, though very similar to the London plane, doesn’t seem quite right. Whatever, it is magnificently tall…
Birches (Betula) and other papery barks
A couple of posts ago I wrote about the sad fall of an Alaskan Kenai birch tree, which had a very papery bark. Nearby there still stands what I think is a related species.
In a different part of the park I came across another tree with papery bark – it’s the one in the middle of the image higher up this post showing the plane trees left and right.
I think this one is not a birch, but maybe a Prunus serrula, the Tibetan cherry? Or some relation of this? I will know when it flowers in Spring, I suppose!
The next one is certainly a birch, I assume a silver birch (Betula pendula).
Catkins and conifers
I have no idea what this small tree is, but it looks rather oriental in shape. I will try to remember to look out for its leaves later in the year.
Bute Park has a Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and I think this may be it…
I must take a closer look at that one. And I will make a resolution to try to identify more conifer species this year, as I usually neglect them as “boring”!
To put the arboretum in context, if I turn my back on the group of conifers you will see I am walking by the River Taff in the centre of Cardiff…
Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
When I got closer I realised I knew this one!
This is the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera. I had thought it was from the Far East of Asia, but Wikipedia tells me it is from the east of North America. I first encountered one in Chepstow, while I was at school, possibly in the castle grounds. In those days I knew it as the saddle-leaf tree, for the shape of the leaves. At that time I hadn’t seen the tulip-shaped flowers, but I have now spotted them many times, all over the UK.
I will take a few pictures of the tulip tree during the year but I have resisted the temptation to make it the tree I will follow every month.
Interest all around…
It’s not all trees in the arboretum…
Next time I will reveal the tree I HAVE decided to follow in 2015. Meanwhile you can find all my tree blog posts here, if you have the time and the inclination!