Tag Archives: Trees

Greek hedges and trees

I was recently in Kefalonia for a week’s holiday. Inevitably a few of my holiday pictures ended up being of hedges and trees, so here are a few thoughts, based on entirely unscientific observations of the immediate area I was staying in (near Argostoli).

The range of trees in Greece is pretty spectacular, with lots of the obvious species like lemon, fig and olive: here’s one of each of those.

(There were plenty of big fig trees, but this one amused me because it was just growing in a crack in the pavement).

When it comes to hedges. the Greek climate mostly doesn’t encourage a dense British-style hedge, so you get two main types of hedge. Firstly you get slightly flimsy flowering hedges like these ones:

This shrub is quite common in the flimsy style of hedge (not sure what it is called)

Secondly you get denser, low hedges, more like an ornamental border. For instance this one at the airport, complete with “Keep of the grass” sign (sic).

And this one, which amuses me because of the symmetry of the hedges containing a garden with nothing in it. (I suspect the British owners of these apartments can be blamed for the slightly neurotic design of this):

Finally, there were plenty of trees I couldn’t identify. I’m not sure whether this triffid is technically a tree or not, but it is definitely pretty weird and a bit scary. It was growing almost horizontally out of the roadside bank, which was also full of strange little cacti:

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Random thoughts about trees

I mostly spent the long weekend gardening and walking in the woods (Trent Park, on the very edge of the green belt). So here’s a few random thoughts about trees.

Lilac: Our neighbour’s is in full bloom. Beautiful, but seems to be very bad for hay fever.

Yucca: They really, really hate snow. My little one just about survived last winter, but the snow in December seems to have been the last straw so I’ve had to dig it up (replaced with some potted bamboo). Always sad when a tree dies.

Holly: A tiny holly tree had rooted itself in the cracks in my paving, so I eased it out, hopefully with all the roots intact, and have repotted. Fingers crossed. (Also several strawberry plants had grown in the cracks, also repotted, which will please the snails that usually eat any resulting fruit).

Apple, Cherry: For some reason my (nine-year-old) daughter has developed a game in the back of the car where she shouts “Apple” or “Cherry” whenever she sees a tree in blossom. I’m not sure what she is counting as apple trees as I’m sure there are not as many as she shouts out. She spent yesterday afternoon wielding some shears and helping to prune my Russian Vine, which made me a bit nervous but happily no fingers were lost.

Box: My miniature box hedge (three box plants at the edge of the lawn) is actually starting to do quite well. If it gets a bit bigger I might get round to topiarising it, it’s now big enough to make a decent topiary pig, I reckon.

Oak, Hawthorn, Beech: These are the most common species in the bit of Trent Park I was in, all good sturdy British hedge species. There are also a few sycamores, birches and and hornbeams dotted about. All are currently bathed in beautiful fresh spring green – in general the plant world seems to be about a month ahead of what I’d expect for late April. The only worry is that we could really do with some rain soon, as the soil is starting to become very dusty.

Birch: I wish I’d had my camera as loads of the birches in Trent Park  have obviously been coppiced in the past, with new flexible growth coming from the stumps – I will go back sometime to take pictures. It’s all part of the old Middlesex Forest (which also would have covered the area I live in) so even though the woods are quite sanitised, there are some interesting historical remnants – Trent Park was part of Enfield Chase, a royal hunting ground, so forest law would have applied. It also contains a weird old moated isle, Camlet Moat, which seems to have been the home of Geoffrey de Mandeville in the time of the Norman Conquest, but its use probably dates back to Roman times at least.

Fig, Sweet Balsam Poplar, Winter Cherry: My other garden trees are all looking very cheerful so far this year – all are quite small, two to three years old, but finally getting established. They make a huge difference to my little garden as it would otherwise be a bit flat.

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