A New Tree to Follow

Last year I ‘followed’ a tree, a rather pitiful corkscrew hazel, becoming less and less enamoured with it as each month passed. But I enjoyed the process of closely examining the tree and chronicling the changes month to month — and I enjoyed following other trees written about by other tree lovers from around the world. I did this thanks to a meme hosted by the English blogger Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy.

All this led me to decide to ‘follow’ a tree again this year. But instead of following a tiny specimen, I’ve choosen a big tree, and one that I love. It’s the linden I see from my kitchen window, a venerable giant that either was planted or seeded itself about a century ago.

I’m guessing at its age, based on its size and on the fact that it doesn’t appear in any photos of Glen Villa Inn, a large hotel that stood close to where the tree is now, that burned down in 1909. So while it is possible that the tree was planted, since it is an indigenous species, it more likely seeded itself, and was allowed to grow unimpeded to its present size.

The linden is a clock, marking the time of day with the location and length of its shadow. It’s a calendar that marks the seasons, moving from the bareness of winter…

The linden just after last year's ice storm.
The linden just after last year’s ice storm.


to the promise of spring…


I've planted muscari under the linden, mimicking the full circle of its drip line.
Leaves on the tree are yet to emerge but you can see a hint of blue underneath. This is the muscari or grape hyacinth I  planted to mimic the full circle of the tree’s outermost branches.


to the glory of summer…


Bees enjoy the nectar of blossoms in July. sitting under the tree then is like sitting inside the hive, with buzzing all around.
Bees enjoy the nectar of blossoms in July. Sitting under the tree then is like sitting inside a bee hive, with happy buzzing all around.


and finally to the ripeness of fall.


On some autumn days the tree glows like spun gold.
On some autumn days the tree glows like spun gold.


I call it a linden tree and it is a member of the linden family but it is more properly called basswood (tilia americana). There’s lots to say about the tree and about how it has been used, but I’ll save these comments for the months to come.

I hope you will follow the tree with me, each month from January to December. The easiest way to do this is to subscribe to the blog. That’s easy to do: simply click on the word ‘subscribe’ that appears below my photo on the blog page. If I keep to this year’s schedule, you will receive one post a week. One week’s post will be about the tree, the others will relate to gardens, landscape design, plants and the beautiful gardens I visit around the world.

Enjoyable reading for 2015? I hope you will find it so!