Winter Barks & Traceries at The Botanic Gardens, Cambridge
|Author: Juliet Day, Development Officer, Cambridge University Botanic Garden||Published: 12th October 2011 15:18|
Winter Barks & Traceries
As the last bonfire-coloured leaves of autumn are blown from the branches, winter reveals the bone structure of the Garden. The deciduous trees take on a spare grandeur, and one of the finest is the Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) that stands at the junction of the snaking path from the new Brookside Gate with the original peripheral path enclosing the 1846 Garden. Once the large pinnate leaves that turn a warm butter yellow in autumn are shed, the deeply-fissured dark bark and vast, spreading crown are revealed. In winter sunshine, the statuesque yet sinuous tracery of the bare-branched canopy casts an plaited shadow pattern on nearby Brookside Lawn.
Prunus serrulaAnother wonderful tree for winter is the Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica), by the Systematic Beds. It is a native of the southern Caucasus and northern Iran and is named for its extremely hard wood. The flattened, spreading canopy of branches in a patchwork pattern of buff, pink and pearly grey, have self-grafted and fused into an intricate lattice. Some of the ornamental cherries and birches also display beautiful barks. The Tibetan Cherry (Prunus serrula), for example, has a trunk of deep mahogany red, burnished and satin shiny, striped with bands of peeling bark interspersed with elongated lenticels. It was introduced to Britain by Ernest ‘Chinese' Wilson in 1908. At the eastern end of the Winter Garden, a special selection of the Chinese Red Birch, Betula albosinensis var septentrionalis is grown as a tri-stemmed specimen. The bark is irresistible to the touch and generations of visitors have polished it to a shimmering smooth surface of rosy pink, pearly grey and warm apricot.
© Juliet Day, Development Officer, Cambridge University Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden is open 10am - 4pm November - January 2012 (Closed during 24 December - 02 January inclusive) and is open 10am - 5pm February - March 2012. Adult admission is £4.00 (£3.50 Concessions) or join the Friends & help the Garden grow! To discover this week's Plant Picks from the Head of Horticulture, please visit the website at http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/
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