I am beginning to feel like the White Rabbit in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, constantly scurrying around muttering “I’m late, I’m late…”. But hey, better late than never?! And I’ve been noticing the berries on the larger, less wind-sculpted hawthorns growing in the more sheltered places on the Island. The red berries shine out as you drive past, heralds of Autumn, and I was curious to see how many ripened berries my own hawthorn had.

At first glance out of our bedroom window, not many:

View of hawthorn from upstairs

Taking a closer look, there is a peppering of jewel-like berries, not overly dramatic, but definitely there.

Hawthorn peppered with red berries

I particularly liked seeing the berried canopy surrounded by the tops of the park trees nearby – the blue sky helped!

Park tree canopy

I’ve seen denser bunches of berries on other trees, but there again I have no idea whether mine never had as many berries, or if they were there but have long since been eaten by the birds! The little blighters certainly made short work of our currant bushes this year, but a closer look at some clusters of berries left me unenlightened, I couldn’t see clear signs of stalks without berries.

Hawthorn berries

Most of the berries are way out of reach of my camera, at least for the purposes of a close-up, but one was hanging low enough to get a good look at.

Hawthorn berry

A bit like the tree itself really, not huge, not flashy, but with its own quiet beauty.

I am also still on Ivy Watch. Again, at first glance most of the ivy that had been growing up the main trunk appeared to be dead, from where my neighbour cut it back to regain his view.

Dead ivy

Closer inspection shows that although one major clump of ivy is dead, there is another that is still growing away, full of health and vitality, which makes me happy. The two of them, hawthorn and ivy, seem to coexist quite happily, and the ivy will no doubt play host to more insects, which in turn will feed the birds once they work there way through the generous array of berries available at the moment, in the park and beyond.

dead and living ivy on hawthorn

At least the ivy will guarantee some colour once the hawthorn leaves have dropped. I don’t really have a good feel for how early or late hawthorn leaves generally turn, and I doubt this year will give me an accurate picture either, the long hot spell in the summer has stressed the trees and leaves are turning earlier and faster than normal all over the place. Certainly the hawthorn leaves are looking far from healthy. They will probably be glad to be able to let go!

Stressed hawthorn leaves

So there you are, my hawthorn tree in September. I am going to try to link in to Lucy’s Tree Following post, but may have left it too late, but if you love trees do check out the links on Lucy’s blog, people all over the world are following a fascinating array of different trees, from small saplings to giant mature specimens. Enjoy!

49 thoughts on “Tree Following: My Hawthorn in September

    1. Hi Sue, I suspect my hawthorn was “planted” by a bird, its such a daft place to deliberately plant one. There again, perhaps it had been planted before the extension was built, and the owners decided to leave it rather than removing it?

  1. An interesting tree following post and good photos. It’s reminded me to see if my hawthorn has any berries since it did flower this year. xx

    1. Thanks Flighty, hope you find some berries – if the birds have left any…

  2. I have noticed that the hawthorns all seem early this year. They look lovely at the moment. It is great that your tree still has some ivy. I notice that ivy flowers are full of bees in late summer.

    1. Hi Chloris, I’m ashamed to say that II have no idea whether the berries are earlier or later this year, since I didn’t notice them at all last year! I love ivy flowers, and yes, mine are mobbed too, but mainly by flies, the bees seem to prefer the wallflowers and dahlias.

  3. By the way Janet, I enjoy your blog but I cannot figure out how to follow it. I know it’ s probably me being dense but there doesn’ t seem to be a follow thing; not even one of those ‘ follow me with atom’ or ‘bloglovin’ things which always baffle me. I’ m just a simple gardener, I can’ t cope with all this technology.

    1. Ah, sorry, the orange icon in the little row of four in the right hand column allows you to follow either via a reader or by email. I am hoping to update my theme soon, I’ll try and make sure it is more obvious when I do, thanks for raising it!

  4. I do love hawthorns, they always have so much character . There are haws on our hawthorns and they are so bright. I guess your photos next month will tell a very different story!

    1. I don’t think I had ever really appreciated hawthorns before I started following mine Jane, I rather took them for granted, hedgerow furniture, so-to-speak… I’ve grown very appreciative, not just of mine. As for next month’s post, yes, I am definitely expecting big changes!

    1. Oh yes, perfect description! Does that mean it will sulk when the birds have stripped it bare? Or will it just preen in its autumnal finery?!

  5. (your About is confusing me. Anglesey? Island? Went to wiki and found North Wales and Gulf Stream so you will have a kind winter?)

    1. Eek! Sorry Diana, and thank you for the nudge, high time I updated it, we moved here just over two years ago, where “here” is Cemaes Bay on Anglesey in North Wales. Very different gardening.Lovely to have you pop in, by the way!

  6. Now have visions of you having long furry ears, wearing a waist coat with a fob watch attached to it. Oh so glad to read that the ivy has got its second wind Janet. Must have a peek tomorrow at the little hawthorn near my willow to check on the berry count.

    1. Never been a fan of waistcoats… I am very happy the ivy doesn’t have quite as big a recovery challenge as I had been fearing Anna, I do like seeing the two together.

  7. The view from your bedroom window is quite beautiful! I like the hawthorn berries. They need not be flashy to be beautiful, and the fact that they appeal to wildlife makes them even more attractive.

    1. Hi Deb, thank you, though I have to admit that I rarely take the time to appreciate the view over the park, as the front bedroom window looks out over sand, sea and cliffs! I agree, the unassuming nature of the hawthorn is part of its charm.

      1. Sand, sea and cliffs, and a beautiful park too! Woman, you are blessed! Do you ever pinch yourself to make sure it is all real?

  8. Love the fruits! My parents had some Hawthorn trees a while back, and the fruits looked like small Apples. I guess Apples, Hawthorns, and Crabapples are all in the Rosaceae family. Your Hawthorn is a statement tree–so much character!

    1. Hi Beth, I agree, my hawthorn has plenty of presence, but tucked away as it is down the least visited side of the house, it rarely gets the appreciation it deserves. Just one of the reasons I love Lucy’s meme!

  9. Hawthorns are lovely trees, they may be understated but the blossom in spring is one of the best and berries are always a bonus.

    1. I agree Christina, hawthorn blossom is the perfect herald of Spring, unlike blackthorn which teases us with the prospect of milder weather just when we tend to get the last blast of winter!

    1. They are, aren’t they Donna, though given the mass of blossom I was expecting more berries. Maybe I just missed them.

  10. I see so many red berries in the roadside hedges but rarely even think what sort they are. The hawthorn in our hedge hasn’t had many berries this year though. The elderberries were eaten by the birds in no time and they have started on the yew berries as well, so hope they will have somthing left later in the winter! This tree watch is an eye-opener, and I just may have to find myself a tree to watch too!

    1. Hi Cathy, I was the same, I think, until I started following mine. I do love the way Lucy is getting us all to be more observant and appreciative. Not very good forward planners are they, birds, the greedy blighters, though they do seem to be picking other fruit instead of my raspberries to gorge on, for which I am grateful!

  11. Janet your hawthorn is looking good, the photo of a single berry is lovely and could not have been easy, I’m glad the ivy is recovering from the chop, mature ivy also has berries the birds love and I’ve heard that small birds like nesting in it too as it gives more cover, Frances

    1. Hi Frances, the poor hawthorn is now almost completely devoid of berries, so I am glad I managed to capture that one while it was still present. I have another mature ivy round the other side of the house and it is in full flower at the moment, and a constant low buzz surrounds it from the many, many bees and hoverflies enjoying the nectar, along with the last of the Red Admiral butterflies. A truly wonderful plant for wildlife, I am glad the hawthorn is still playing host to one.

  12. I have so enjoyed reading these tree memes, Janet, and as we have virtually no hawthorn left in our hedge now (doesn’t last for ever) it is especially interesting to have a close look at yours – thank you :)

    1. You’re welcome Cathy, I have loved watching the hawthorn so closely, it has been well worth appreciating. I hope I won’t promptly forget it once I get to the end of the year’s meme!

  13. Hawthorns are great trees. Unsung perhaps because we think of them as just another hedgerow plant but I love their blossom and the fruits. There are some cultivated varieties in a park near us and they are dripping in fruit at the moment and have the most gorgeous pink blossom. The trees by us are looking a bit forlorn, the dry July and dry September have made life difficult for them I think. Oaks in particular look dreadful – covered in powdery mildew.

  14. I am also fond of the Hawthorn Janet. Being my first Summer here, I had been thinking the trees in Aberdeen usually look fresher at this time of year than they do here. Well, you have answered what I had suspected.
    Only this morning I was helping my son in law fit some new fencing panels in his back garden. We had to cut back a large branch from a Hawthorn, only then did I notice the quantity of berries which it held.

    1. Hi Alistair, I think I am still adjusting to the different climate here, and given how changeable the weather has been these past two years I am still not at all convinced I have a good handle on what passes for normal here, I am sure it will be the same for you too. Enjoyable, but it can be a little confusing, adjusting to the changes and trying to factor in the extraordinary, like the long dry summer period.

      Hope you are enjoying living closer to your daughter and her family, and that things are settling down re extension etc.

  15. Sometimes hawthorns where I live seem to have no berries but when you get close there are masses. It’s just that from a distance the bright red looks more like a burnished brown. I very much like the photo of the single berry. As for comparing years – every year seems to have its own version of an exception.

    1. You’re right Lucy, they do appear more brown from a distance don’t they, which is strange, as close up they seem so very red! I am almost tempted to follow the hawthorn again next year, just to be able to compare and contrast, but I have a number of other candidates demanding a turn, so who knows…

    1. They are spectacular around here Catherine, you can almost feel the storms just by looking at them. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  16. It’s a good berry year this year :-) our hawthorn by the fence is doing us proud. I found a hawthorn shield bug in the garden a couple of weeks ago – I didn’t know there was a species specific to the tree

    1. Isn’t it! The raspberries have been (and still are) extraordinary, though the hawthorn seems to have been stripped bare now. I wonder how many tree-specific insects there are?

  17. I don’t know much about hawthorns at all, so I didn’t realize they produced berries. What a lovely show in the fall! Our flowering crabapples produce lots of berries, which the birds also love.

    1. Hi Rose, the berries are actually quite unobtrusive, unlike so many other plants – crabapples included!

  18. Well this is new to me, someone who likes ivy! It must be one of those great in its natural surroundings plants. When I lived on the west coast of Canada ivy was considered a noxious weed, to be ripped out at first sight. So I was quite surprised to hear you were upset the neighbour chopped yours down. Here I was thinking – well that was awful nice of him, too bad he missed a spot! I learn so much from blogs like yours.

    1. Hi Marguerite, yes, I know, ivy seems to be a much-hated plant in the US! I suppose it is a question of right plant right place again, it is a wonderful plant for wildlife and there are many beautiful ornamental forms that do an excellent job of hiding unsightly buidlings etc whilst providing food and habitat for insects and birds. It does have to be controlled though, I have spent hours uprooting ivy in the borders where it was taking over as groundcover. All a matter of perspective I suppose, since it does do a marvellous job of suppressing weeds!!

  19. I’m quite late at coming to this post myself Janet – you are not alone at being late :)
    I can honestly say I have never paid much attention to hawthorn berries before but I seem to be seeing them everywhere this year. I added a hawthorn to my garden this year and I think that’s the reason. Although I had a few sparse flowers – no berries!
    Sorry to read you are missing the Ivy – Ivy in the right place, doing a wonderful job is a real addition to any garden. Of course the wildlife it caters for will also be missing it.

    1. Hi Angie, happily there is plenty of ivy elsewhere in the garden, and the one in the hawthorn will soon make a comeback. I think hawthorns are a great addition to a garden, provided you don’t have to brush up against it, the thorns are quite impressive!

  20. I must admit I’m a big fan of berries, almost as much as rose hips. Only the high canopy is showing signs of change here in Kansas but the smell is in the air. Enjoyed this foreshadowing piece.

    1. Hi Patrick, yes, berries can be such a beautiful part of this time of year can’t they, are I am still on a mission to add more plants to the garden that have good ones. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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