Thursday, 28 April 2011

Elm Seeds

30th march

And so the flowers die away... and give way to new life. As the flowers fade & seeds grow, the leaf buds also begin to open... three cycles of life easily visible to us at one time. Other life-cycles within the tree are progressing too... twigs & branches stretching... extending... the tree itself adding another ring within its trunk... and don't forget the root system, with it's own cycle of growth & renewal underground.
It is easy to see why the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge is used as a metaphor in spiritual traditions. We are not just growing & learning on one level, but many at any one time... sometimes more obviously & sometimes things are expanding in the background unobtrusively.

3rd april

The colour of the elm seeds... or rather the case that encloses them... is such a vivid bright green, they really stand out from a distance and are one of the earlier flashes of colour visible in early spring in the uk.

9th april

The fruit of the elm... a soft papery sheath containing a single seed, delicate wafer thin discs that are actually surprisingly tough, protecting the precious embryo within.

There is a vibrancy, an ethereal quality to these clusters of seeds that almost seem to glow when seen en masse... an extra dimension that you maybe don't perceive from a photograph. In real life I don't know of a word that describes their particular hue. I know that people perceive colour differently & I always wonder whether others see the same shade as me.

13th april

There was a time when I saw this fresh green growth from a distance, perhaps driving by & marvelled at the early leaves of spring... I didn't realise they were seeds not leaves. I assumed that the leaves just darkened as they matured. You can see the leaves beginning to grow... a different shade of green entirely. It goes to show that nothing can be assumed and what you think you see can be something totally different... take the time to examine & study... be it a thing, a person, a situation & not take things for granted.

these are just seeds... no young leaves on this tree yet.

Of the trees i know, none come close to the brightness of this green, somewhere between lemon acid drops & neon green. As they age their colour turns whiter... more milky green

21st april

Nature's own frisbees that will release themselves from the tree that gave them life (or is it the tree that releases those that it gave life to?) to glide on the breeze, carrying the potential of new life with them. Not many of them actually take root & grow... most new elms spring from suckers from the base of the parent tree. Nature already has various means of procreating, whilst we are still experimenting & worrying about ethics. Perhaps it isn't the means that should cause concern, more the egos & potential for mis-use that raises questions of trust.

24th april

Vast amounts of seeds that will never grow... perhaps like souls that prepare for life but don't actually make it... perhaps like people in our mass of humanity that don't reach the potential we think they should. But who are we to say what that outcome should be? What is 'full potential'? And don't you think that 'full potential' is often a standard set by someone else for us, or that we think someone else should attain? 

For every little seed that is scattered, for every idea that doesn't become reality, for every person however much they do or don't develop... they all play their part, they all do what is necessary for them, however much we may think otherwise.
Chances of a tree maturing from seed are increased by the numbers released.... if thousands did not perish on the way, the few that grow would not have the chance to reach "full potential". And do they really perish? They give of themselves so that some of their kind can succeed... they provide sustenance for birds & insects, some take root and provide forage for other creatures... others decompose & give nutrients back to the earth, helping all-sorts to grow. No, they do not perish, they nourish... mission accomplished, they fulfil their role in the cycle of life. 

27th april

In the same way, ideas lead to other ideas, until a plan with the strength to mature develops. And what of people? Perhaps some give themselves as sacrificial lambs so that others may thrive. Some may be the cause of inspiration to others, either by their selflessness or by selfishness or misfortune that pushes others to reach beyond what they may have settled for. But this does not mean that we should accept situations or settle for being anything less... on the contrary we should always strive for ourselves & for others, for the world & humanity.... for who knows which of those seeds will be the one that grows into the most wonderful tree?

Festival of the Trees

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sycamore Buds Breaking...

20th april

 21st april

 21st april from the other side

 22nd april

23rd april

 23rd april

 23rd april

 24th april

Amazing how fast it all happens!! 

Friday, 22 April 2011

Sycamore Buds

Way back in february i spied the sycamore buds,
a promising glimpse of green on skeleton limbs of trees...

25th February

hopefully i waited.....
and waited....
no change
at least not on the outside....
still i waited...

7th April

and suddenly in april they began to swell....
the energy that had been building inside broke loose...

10th april

a visible daily change...

14th april

how exciting
just watching the rate of growth increase... 

16th april

as if they suddenly got the message
and realised what they were supposed to be doing...

17th april

feeling the impetus, 
that once unleashed can not be halted...

19th april

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Spring Browns!

Brown may not be the first colour we think of to associate with spring but i've spied quite a lot of it around.... in varying hues & combinations....

the glorious cock pheasant on the look out for his harem...

hares a-plenty, madly dashing...

 a wheatear, newly migrated for the spring & summer...

and poplar leaves....

not the same variety as in my earlier poplar post but a close cousin...

perfect inspiration for colour palettes...

Elm Flowers

25th february

It doesn't seem five minutes since i saw the first elm buds breaking open... i was quite shocked to see that it was back in February, and a bit annoyed with myself for not sharing their progress sooner. Tight little balls of red flowers breaking out of almost black buds... 

12th march

They soon burst out. Even though the flowers are really quite red, the combination of colours merges together from a distance meaning that unless you are looking, you could be forgiven for not seeing them. But once spotted you wonder how on earth you missed them! 

19th march

We often look at people the same way... we see their general appearance... take in the general impression they give without really seeing what is really there. We can pass the time of day with someone without ever discovering the true person. That's not a fault or recrimination... whilst some people wear their heart on their sleeve or display their personality in full like other blossoms, some are more restrained. Like the colours of the elm flowers, the bright threads of personality can seem to be muted and they don't demand attention. But when someone is interested enough to take notice, or when they choose to reveal themselves, their true beauty shines out. 

19th march

And how rewarding... to see the inner beauty of a person... or a flower! I love these little flowers... they are so subtle, but the more you look the more fascinating details reveal themselves. Every year when I see them, it is like meeting up with a friend that I know I love & revel in re-discovering why... and as we chat we find out a little bit more about each other that we didn't know before that deepens our connection.

The elm is a 'perfect' flower, that is, it has both male & female parts.... the female 'pistil' that will develop into the fruit & the male stamen that produces the pollen for fertilization. If cross pollination from other trees does not take place, the elm will pollinate itself... mainly with the help of insects, bees & butterflies.

30th march

All too soon the flowers die away, but then a new magic takes place as the green fruit bearing the seeds begins to grow.

Friday, 1 April 2011


First green leaves on the Hawthorn... 

in the first light of the morning sun...
(and hopefully the last of the frosts!)

And for the first time, I'm hosting the May edition of The Festival Of The Trees & I'd love to include something posted by YOU, dear friends! You may have seen the link before as I've often included it in my posts, but if you haven't followed it before, I'll tell you that it leads to a monthly collection of posts about... da-daaa... TREES (as if you hadn't guessed!)

14th march 

So... I'd love it if you posted something during the month of April that shows how trees whisper to your soul... or your heart or your mind...  I love the factual as well as the spiritual & less tangible...

Go on... share how trees inspire you... whether it be artistic or poetic, photographic or scientific... or  something we might not know.... whether it's about how they grow or heal the sick.... taken from ancient lore or something quite futuristic....share something about trees that makes you tick!

Then just email <suziscribbles [at]> by the end of April with a link to your post.... and if you stumble across something that you think might be good to include, i'd appreciate it if you let me know.

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