Tree Following 2016 – In search of a new tree

I’ve been procrastinating about my tree following for this year. I knew I wanted to participate again, but I have found it really difficulr to settle on a tree to follow. I missed January altogether, and am only just scraping in to February’s slot.

I thought about following one of the trees in my garden, but they are all very young. I knew I needed to pick one that was close by, as I will inevitably get busy and I learnt the hard way that even the river valley is too much of a challenge when I am busy!

My first thought was to follow the tree at the bottom of our road, right near the beach.

Tree at the bottom of the road

I can’t remember what kind of tree it is, but it is surviving the very exposed position, the dangers of the council bank strimmer, and there are interesting things growing around the base. Plus following it would mean endless excuses to photograph the beach behind it! But it lacks character, somehow, and I like the trees I follow to have character.

My next thought was to pick something growing in the park behind our house. Some of you may remember the park from when I was following my hawthorn – the hawthorn leans over the fence towards it as if yearning to be free.

Trees at the edge of the park

There are quite a lot of trees in the park, including a row of birches planted along one edge, with what seems to be a rather bare border underneath at present.

Willows by our house

There is also the stand of willows, with a couple of birches thrown in, that grows in the corner right by our house. Scarily close to our house, in fact, and getting taller all the time. At some point I am going to have to try and persuade the park warden to have their height reduced, every storm seems to break off a few more branches.

The tree out on its own, to the left in the photograph above, is an ornamental cherry, and I decided that following a tree with such delightful blossom would be a lovely idea. Plus I can just about see this tree from our bedroom window. And then I noticed that the two cherries planted close to it were sporting some rather interesting decorations.

Mysterious plastic bug trap

There aren’t any on the cherry tree nearest to our house, but the other two have several. Which made me curious.

strange fruit

I can’t imagine they are intended to hang quite like this, and I have so far failed to turn up any information about them on Kew’s website. But in peering closely at the somewhat ugly plastic “fruit” I got distracted by the lovely bark.

attractive bark on ornamental cherry

And then there is the collection of lichens growing on the trunks.

moss and lichen

It was easy to pick which of the two cherry trees to follow too, as one has a very nice, quite conventional habit, while the other splits into three trunks quite low down, and sports some interesting damage too. Definitely ticking the “characterful” box.

Ornamental cherry with three trunks

Damaged ornamental cherry tree

So, I will be following the middle of the three ornamental cherry trees, and am already looking forward to seeing the blossom up close. There are lots of fat and healthy buds on the branches, and given that I used to wander round to the park to photograph my hawthorn from the other side, I know I can reasonably expect to keep up with the posts this year (famous last words!)

Buds on ornamental cherry

Three ornamental cherry trees in Cemaes park

There is another little bonus to following this tree. The building you can see behind the trees is a little gymn, and every year the circular bed you can see between it and the trees is sown with wildflower seed by the people who do the “Cemaes in Bloom” competition. So that should make for some good insect life and lovely flowers once the blossom has faded. So here she is, my tree for 2016:

My tree to follow for 2016

My thanks to Squirrel Basket for hosting this lovely meme – and I will try not to leave it until the last possible moment every month…



  1. Your cherry looks like an interesting tree to follow. Those lichen are just gorgeous. I was in a conversation with a fellow gardener yesterday, who’s also a ceramic sculptor. She’s making a bird bath for our local Master Gardener demonstration garden and using a variety of color glazes for the “trunk” of her birdbath, which resembles a tree trunk. We agreed that tree trunks aren’t brown, but in fact, many colors.

    1. Hello Tina, that is so true, no tree trunk is ever just shades of brown is it. I love the added colour and texture the lichens add.

  2. That looks like a great tree to follow, and I think the three trunks make it very characterful. I love the photo with the lichen on the trunk, very beautiful.

    1. Hi Julieanne, I think it was the lichens on the already-lovely bark that sold me on following a cherry tree this year, they really are extraordinary, I feel very ignorant, knowing there must be so many different kinds on show there.

  3. Janet I am quite heartened to see how many trees in your park have a short trunk which becomes a multi trunk quite low on the tree, I have hope for my many short trunked trees, thank you for showing them,
    how lovely to have 3 flowering cherries so near your home, you can enjoy seeing them without too much blossom cascading into your garden,
    your header photo of the lichen and texture of the tree bark is beautiful, your tree does have quite a lot of character, I must remember to describe my windblown trees as being characterful in future,
    when you mentioned the building behind was a gym, I thought you were going to say you use it so go there anyway, I like the wildflower island bed, looks to be an interesting tree to follow,
    oh and I didn’t do a January post either, I think unless the trees are covered in snow, white with frost or set against a perfect blue sky there is little difference between Jan and Feb, Frances

    1. Hi Frances, I did think about joining the gymn, but we have an exercise bike and free weights and I prefer to limit the number of people who get to see me struggle with either! I am lucky to have the cherry trees so close by, they usually make a wonderful show in Spring, so hopefully they will do so this year as well. And yes, definitely describe your trees as having character!!

  4. A brilliant choice! And I enjoyed your description of “the hunt”, too.
    I have updated your information on the tree-following master list.
    Of course, my favourite picture (everyone’s favourite?) is the lichen – you’ve caught those little “cups” just perfectly.
    All the best :)

    1. Thank you – I was fascinated by those little ‘cups’, and glad you enjoyed the tale of the hunt too, it has become a core part of the tree following experience for me, working out which tree to choose. Thanks again for hosting!

  5. It’s good to see that you’re following a tree again, and I like the one you’ve chosen which should provide plenty of interest through the year. xx
    Flighty recently posted I’ve done enough

    1. Hi Flighty, I’m hoping it will be interesting all year round, and that when the tree is at its most boring, in high summer with dark green leaves, the wildflower patch behind it will give me something to talk about!

  6. I may do an informal tree following on my blog but I find it to be a struggle to keep to imposed deadlines as I like to write when the tree had something to say.
    Sue Garrett recently posted Bags of beans

    1. I know what you mean Sue, I’ve given up on most memes too, but at least with Tree Following I get a full week to get round to posting!

  7. Love the new theme Janet….and what a most fascinating tree to follow, with lovely bark and blossoms. I have decided not to follow any tree this year. The rest of mine are too small for any remarkable observations. And I know I won’t be consistent in posting about one not in my garden.
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted Flower Tales-Cosmos

    1. Thank you Donna, I wanted to design something that would allow me to use large photos without the text getting too wide to read comfortably. I know what you mean about trying to follow a tree not in your own garden, last year was a bit of a failure on that score, I am hoping that the park will be too close for me to procrastinate on…

  8. I will be interested to follow your cherry tree alone with you. I love cherry trees. They have such beautiful blooms and bark, but they don’t do well in my climate.
    debsgarden recently posted My Garden Mistakes

    1. Hi Deb, that is one of the things I enjoy about the meme, getting to know trees I couldn’t possibly grow myself. I must admit I had forgotten how beautiful the bark can be on flowering cherries until I got close to these, a definite saving grace, as I find the trees quite ordinary once the blossom has finished, unless it is one of the purple leaved varieties.

  9. Definitely a tree with plentiful character! The bark, form, and color are fascinating even in this season, so it has much going for it in every season. I’m looking forward to your posts about this tree in the coming year.
    Beth @ PlantPostings recently posted Life Under the Arctic Blast

    1. Thanks Beth, it was good to find a tree so close by that ticked all the boxes, I am particularly curious to see whether the lichens last all year or whether they are seasonal.

  10. A great choice. Cherry trees are good value all year round. I loved seeing close up shots of the bark and lichen. It reminds me of when I was a child and enjoyed scratching the horizontal orange marks on cherry trees to make them a brighter orange.
    Chloris recently posted Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. February

    1. Hi Chloris, I didn’t know scratching the bark made it more orange, I wonder if I could get away with trying that in the park on “my” cherry tree… On a suitably quiet day…

    1. Yes, I do love the “looking more closely” phenonemon, it seems to come with the blogging doesn’t it – or possibly with the photography that goes with it.

  11. This looks like a lovely tree to keep an eye on throughout the year. I love the lichens , too! I’ll also look forward to seeing the wildflowers in the circular bed.
    Wendy recently posted Planning for Wildlife in the Garden

    1. Hi Wendy, the wildflower patch is usually really lovely. I hope they don’t pick this year to change what they do…

  12. It will be most interesting to watch the progress of your cherry – always a bonus following a flowering tree. I am intrigued by the boxes, ugly though they may be. As they have pictures of bees on do you think they might have embryonic bees in them, or a single queen or what? Do you know how long they have been there?

    1. Hi Cathy, I was determined to pick a flowering tree this year, or I suppose more accurately, a tree with ornamental flowers. I could’t work out whether the boxed were designed to house solitary bees or supply them! There is an instruction to hang the box on the sheltered side of the tree, so I suspect they are meant to offer refuge?

  13. I am looking foward to following this tree with you Janet. I am currently contemplating adding an ornamental cherry to the side garden but ultimately I need to source something small and narrow.
    Angie recently posted Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2016

    1. Hi Angie, picking trees for small gardens can be really tricky, can’t it. There are some very narrow columnar cherry trees, but I think they grow quite tall.

    1. Must be because it is so chuffed to have been chosen!!

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