Well, I managed to take the photos on the 7th, just didn’t quite manage to put the post together! I am joining in with Lucy’s Tree Following meme, attemtping to do at least one post a month on the hawthorn awkwardly crammed against the fence down the side of the house. I say awkwardly, but the hawthorn doesn’t seem to care, and is welcoming true Spring by unfurling bright green new leaves everywhere I look.

Photo of a Green fuzz of new leaves on the hawthorn

I love the brilliant colour of fresh leaves, and hawthorn leaves always seem to look particularly frothy, because of the crinkly edges – like green origami.

photo of new hawthorn leaves

I particularly like the new leaves against the lichen.

Photo of fresh hawthorn leaves and lichen

The lower part of the trunk is putting out fresh growth too, something that I will have to trim off if I am still to be able to access the compost bins. You can see where I – and others – have had to trim these lower attempts at spreading out before, and isn’t the bark itself wonderful.

Photo of fresh growth from trunk of hawthorn

I’ve not yet spotted any insect life, but there are clear signs of spiders at least, with webs tangled in the fissures and nodules on the trunk.

Photo of new leaves, bark and webs

It is virtually impossible to photograph the hawthorn without also capturing the ivy that clings to and clambers up it. I know a lot of people view ivy climbing up trees like this as something to worry about, to clean off. I might feel differently if this tree was in an ornamental border, but sat right on the boundary, right next to the wilder corner of the park next door, I am happy to allow it to do its thing. Even the RHS suggests that ivy is only a problem from an aesthetic point of view, unless growing on a rather delicate host that is losing too much light.

Photo of a tangle of ivy clambering up the hawthorn tree

There is nothing fragile or delicate about this hawthorn of mine, so I will enjoy the sight of fresh growth on the ivy too, and admire the way the roots grip the bark.

Photo of new ivy leaves and bark

new growth on ivy

42 thoughts on “Tree Following: My Hawthorn in April

  1. A most enjoyable tree following post with terrific photos.
    The contrast between this hawthorn and the one on my plot couldn’t be more different which I find interesting. xx

    1. Thank you Flighty. I think I find the differences between the same kind of tree but different ages or locations almost more fascinating than the differences between species.

  2. Fabulous photos – and a really interesting post about one of my favourite trees. It is great to see a tree from down by the fence at the side of the house and on the way to the compost heap having its moment of glory; and I love the way you have allowed ivy to get in on the tree meme action.

    1. Thanks Sarah, good to hear hawthorn is a favourite of yours too. It almost feels like cheating to claim it as “my” hawthorn since I didn’t plant it and it mostly exists over the fence in the park!

  3. Janet I can see why you enjoy your Hawthorn, lovely photos, the contrast of greens between the old Ivy growth and new growth from both plants must make it all the more pleasurable and what a fest for wildlife, you know how much further north I am so it is interesting that my wee Hawthorns are at a similar stage of leaf,
    just feel the need to comment about the ivy as my daughter had a neighbours tree land in her garden one winter night because of the strong winds and density of ivy in the tree, she was living in suburban Surrey at the time, not a place known for strong winds! Frances

    1. Hi Frances, yes, I really enjoy the contrasting greens. As for ivy, I personally suspect that ivy merely hides how rotten a tree has become with its growth and then certainly might “aid” its fall with the added weight, but nothing Ihave seen suggests it can cause an otherwise healthy tree to fall.

    1. Isn’t it! I love that green haze that subtly starts to creep across the landscape at this time of year, if fills the gap left by the blackthorn finishing its flowering.

  4. I like the way how that hawthorn has adjusted itself to grow in that awkward spot, determined to grow and do well. In a way it is a symbol of resilience and adaptation too. And yes, the fresh spring growth is always a wonderful sight to see :)

    1. Yes, it really is determined to thrive isn’t it, undaunted by paving slabs or proximity to the house wall. Lovely pieces of stubborness.

    1. I now have visions of all those feet wriggling around in search of a better grip, which is fainlty creepy…

  5. looks like your Hawthorn sat for its portrait. Wonderful shots, with and without ivy, and ahead lies the blossom (though I’ve cast of my clout already!)
    p.s. we’ve become terribly precious about ivy since those (ghastly in my opinion) Springwatch celebs.

    1. Hi Laura, I have cast my clout too!! I agree, ivy seems to have become feared and detested by many, and Iam sure that all too often it merely obscures dead and dying trees with its leaves and then gets blamed when the tree falls. Mine gets to stay for the forseeable.

  6. Hawthorn is making all the country lanes here green once more, such a beautiful shade of green. Your Hawthorn is determined to survive and will look even more wonderful when the blossom is out in a short while.

    1. Hi Pauline, yes, I love that creeping green haze that overtakes the hedgerows at this time of year. I am really looking forward to the blossom.

  7. Hawthorns are lovely trees, I would still worry about the ivy myself, I’ve seen lots of trees killed by tenacious ivy in many parts of the country.

    1. Hi Christina, is it really the ivy that kills the trees, or does it just obscure the death that is already there from some other source? From what have read on the RHS site and elsewhere ivy can’t constrict a tree in a way that causes damage, the most it can do is either break some branches through weight or sometimes steal too much light for (parts of) the host to thrive. I think I need to do more research, ivy is such a wonderful host for wildlife.

  8. Great pictures, Janet – I love watching the progress of hawthorn and at this time of year I can see that there are still a few outposts of it in our hedge. When I was working I could come back after the Feb half term and see that the hedges en route had gone from bare to green in the space of a week (well, some years). it will be intriguing to see when the flower buds first appear as the ones in the hedgerows often seem to be cut before they have the chance to flower

    1. Thanks Cathy. I agree, I often think hawthorn is the perfect harbinger of spring. Blackthorn blossom appears when the weather is still typically rather on the cold side, but once the hawthorn starts to green up you feel you can start to really get stuck in to all those mid spring jobs. I’m sure you are right about the hedges often not flowering, or not flowering well, because of when they are cut. Or butchered.

  9. I think the ivy looks like it has found its partner for life… true love? The bark really is lovely – great photos!

    1. Hi Cathy, they do seem rather content together, for all the controversy their pairing provokes!

  10. Have just looked back at your March Tree Following post Janet and oh what difference a month makes.
    Ivy is certainly a tenacious character – I’ve been observing it clinging to my chosen tree too but I’m not particularly worried about its presence.

    1. Hi Anna, it is a dramatic change isn’t it, my favourite thing about Spring is the sudden transitions you get in individual plants, its as if they suddenly wake up and rush to join the party. Overall the experience is of gradual unfolding, but the individual bursts of activity are energising. I am glad to hear from another person unworried by ivy climbing up a tree, I was beginning to feel a little like a lone campaigner!

  11. Leaves emerging like origami–how delightful! I like your philosopy with this tree and with the ivy growing on it. It is a beautiful combination!

    1. Thank you! I love the combination too, and it is one that is perfect for wildlife. All the controversy has me wanting to do some more research though, ivy seems to get blamed for a lot of tree damage that personally I am sure is just hidden by the ivy, not caused by it.

  12. I have always been fond of Hawthorn Janet, liking all things red I was particularly fond of Paul’s Scarlet. Lichen, don’t they say that’s a sign of unpolluted air.

    1. The red hawthorn is lovely Alistair, I agree, and if I had more room… You are right about lichen, a sign of clean air – there is loads of it in the trees along the river, which is reassuring given that Wylfa Power Station is just a few miles up the coast ;-) Or maybe it is mutant lichen…

  13. We’ve a hawthorn hedge over from the house and it’s looking exactly the same as your tree. It’s great to see the hedgerows come to life – you know it won’t belong until we are swathed in green once again!
    Your tree is gorgeous – personally, I don’t mind the Ivy – gives a bit of interest in winter and of course useful for the critters too.

    1. Hi Angie, oh good, plus 1 in the pro ivy corner! It is an exciting time of year isn’t it, I keep being sidetracked whilst attempting to get the weeds under control, so many new buds opening, leaves unfurling, fern fronds uncoiling. Magical.

  14. I love to see the Hawthorns at this time of year with the new leaves and then the glorious blossom. And it is such a great tree for wildlife, too.

  15. Lovely post and photos, Janet. I’m more used to seeing hawthorn as a hedge so it’s nice to see it as a tree as well, especially the fresh leaves against a blue sky! I support your ivy camp! We had ivy growing up the three massacred plane trees here; it didn’t pull them down even though it had been growing for years and it played host to so many little birds and creatures. Now that the trees have been severely pruned (so no leaf canopy for this year at least), the ivy is providing the greenery in that corner. I pulled tons of it out of my fruit tree border as it had been allowed to become invasive but have left a few patches of it growing up the brick wall where it looks really pretty. It’s also brilliant at brightening up a shady corner if you grow the lime green or variegated ivy. Pleased you’re going to leave it be. :)

    1. Hi Caro, sorry its taken me so long to reply, I somehow lost a bunch of comments! Few things beat the sight of fresh green leaves on tree branches against deep blue sky. I’m glad you are in the pro ivy corner, it is surprisingly controversial. I was really sad to see that one of our fence posts is woibbling and will need replacing before the winter, as that section of fence plays host to a wonderful sprawling mass of mature ivy, and there are always birds and loads of insects in and around it. I know it will grow back, but not for a while, and I will feel bad cutting it down to mend the fence. I don’t feel in the least bad about ripping it out by the armful where it is choking my borders though ;-)

  16. I do love your hawthorn – and this fresh leaves look so appetising. In fact, we used to call them ‘bread and cheese’ and eat them on the way to and from school. Can’t remember what they taste like and have no desire to repeat the experiment, but we lived…

    1. I think I remember you telling me that before Kate, it made me shudder a little, think I will stick to just admiring them from a safe distance!!

  17. It’s lovely to see the fresh green leaves unfurling isn’t it. I think your hawthorn is a little ahead of mine. Blossom next, yay!

    1. Exciting, isn’t it Natalie! There are beginning to be signs of blossom now…

  18. This must be a very sturdy tree to tolerate the ivy. There are tiny leaves popping out on my trees, too, which is such an uplifting sight. :o) Hooray for spring!

    1. They are very tough trees, they even survive up on the cliffs, though there they are sculpted by the wind and stunted too, like living sculptures. Hooray for Spring indeed! Am now enjoying the tulips.

    1. Hi Donna, it must be strange seeing all these fresh spring leaves on trees when you are barely emerging from winter. Mind you, the speed with which your garden is leaping in to spring it won’t be long!

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