Tag Archives: trees

Smothering ivy

Winter, stripping back foliage as it does, reveals the nature beneath the canopy. Ivy creeps up tree trunks adding a welcome splash of evergreen against the winter grey of bark. In a garden, ivy growing like this may be trimmed back in fear that it will strangle the tree. But here in the valley, it seems to cause little damage. Where the ivy climbs high into the crown of the tree, it is seems to be in trees which are dead, dying or not healthy. Ivy is not a parasite and does not penetrate the bark, its short roots cling to the surface for support only, not nutrients. As well as winter colour, ivy growing through trees offers shelter for wildlife, birds’ nests, hibernation, roosting and hiding. Once its reaches the canopy of the tree, the ivy often produces shrubby growth with yellow/green flowers and black berries; all welcomed by birds and insects.

5 to remember
la hedera – the ivy
sofocando/a – smothering
desnudándose – stripping back
revelar – to reveal/expose
el dosel – the canopy

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Winter reveals the ivy around the #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Tq

The leaves hang on

When you are accustomed to bare trees in a Northern European winter, glimpsing the bare trunks and branches of deciduous trees bereft of their summer green is a bit disorientating. Here in the valley, the leaves hang on and hang on… golden, bronze, plain brown, delicate filigree and wrinkled like old shoe leather. Figs, grape, kaki, plum, pomegranate, almond, walnut and quince, hanging on to autumn even though December has arrived.

5 to remember
estar acostumbrado a [algo] – to be accustomed to [something]
Norte de Europa – Northern European
caduco/a – deciduous
ser despojada – to be bereft
delicado/a – delicate

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The leaves hang on: #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1B3

Through the year/poplars

Like a line of full stops along the riverbank, the poplars are an everlasting presence. Their transition from bare trunk to the fully-leaved summer home of the golden orioles, through to their autumn bronze and copper tones, they are one of the first landmarks to catch my eye. Here they are through every month of the year.
January… 1-poplar-silver1February… 2-poplarsMarch… 3-poplars-grey1April… 4-april-poplars-in-the-valleyMay… 5-may-poplarsJune… 6-poplars3July… 7-poplars2August… 8-august-morning-sun-on-the-poplarsSeptember… 9-the-poplars2October… 10-oct-poplarNovember… 11-nov-poplar-going-goldDecember… 12-poplars15 to remember
un punto – a full stop
perpetuo/a – everlasting
la transición – the transition
cobrizo/a – copper [colour]
un punto de referencia – a landmark


‘Hamlyn Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe’ [UK: Hamlyn]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
12 months of poplar #trees in #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Qe via @Spanish_Valley


Tree roots

I find tree roots and tree trunks fascinating. The gnarled texture makes me want to touch it, is it the dichotomy: a living thing that is unmoving and so appears dead? holm oak tree on our track1 28-1-15Of course we only see roots when there’s been a landslip or construction work, or where the roots push above the surface of the earth. We are surrounded here by holm oaks which have satisfyingly rough, twisted trunks and roots. Perhaps it is the idea of roots as an anchor for the giant tree above, doing their work unseen, fastening the tree to the ground while twisting and twining their way through the earth, following water, burrowing down.

5 to remember
fascinante – fascinating
nudoso/a – gnarled
la dicotomía – the dichotomy
un corrimiento de tierra – a landslip
un ancla – an anchor


Hamlyn Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe’ [UK: Hamlyn]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The fascination of #tree roots in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Gw


Mysterious seed pods

These 3-valved seed capsules belong to Sapindaceae, the Golden Rain tree, a deciduous tree seen here frequently at the roadside. Difficult to identify, when it is young it is rather rangy and gangly it grows into a mature tree with beautiful yellow flowers which can be up to 40 cm long. The conical seed pods are fascinating, they look as if they have been inflated with air. Containing black seeds, they hang on long after the leaves have fallen.

5 to remember
una cápsula – a capsule
una válvula – a valve
alto/a y delgado/a – rangy
desgarbado/a – gangly
cónico/a – conical

June in the valley

The weeds are growing waist-high on the threshing patch and starting to turn pale gold, we’re eating the first courgettes and the pomegranate trees are covered with orange flowers. As the artichokes die back, the trees are laden with baby fruit. Oh, and something is nibbling the leaves on the caqui tree.

5 to remember
cintura alta – waist-high
el árbol de caqui – the persimmon tree
una granada – a pomegranate
el granado – the pomegranate tree
morder – to nibble/bite into

Triumphant quince

There is nothing to rival the blush pink of the quince blossom, on the day when the petals are unblemished, fresh, newly-made. So delicate, some almost entirely white, others touched with pale pink. How can a tree which produces such beautiful flowers, later in the year produce such ugly fruit?

5 to remember
triunfante – triumphant
emular – to rival
intachable – unblemished
totalmente – entirely
¿cómo puede – how can