[This year I have decided to study two big Horse Chestnut trees near our house.  This is Part 4 of my sketchbook-learnings.]

In my March update on the Drygrange Chestnuts, it was all about the sticky hard buds that had been progressing all month.  In early April those buds burst.  At first they looked like candelabras; then 70s slightly-too-frilly wall lights; then extravagant multi-tiered chandeliers.  It is incredible to think that those buds contained such an explosion of leaves.  No wonder they have to be glued together!  Now in late April the trees are completely cloaked in bright, new green.

One of the chestnuts has a nest box on the trunk.  I haven’t spotted any activity going in or out (one of the downsides of having a giant noisy poodle with you) but I’m imagining a family of blue tits are resident.  There’s also big hollows which I hope that the tawny owls that we hear at dusk are nesting in.  And I often see woodpigeons on the branches so perhaps they have found a temporary home in the chestnuts, too.  Trees are such generous hosts.

It has been a whole month since I last wrote my record of the trees, and during that month we have all been staying at home. I think all the time about people who aren’t as lucky as to have woods to wander in on their doorstep and a garden to sit in with the baby.  I try to check my privilege every single day.  I think, though, that there are chestnut trees almost everywhere.  They love parkland and they love streets.  I hope that people are noticing the trees they pass on their daily walks, looking up and maybe seeing something surprising, like a nest box full of chicks or some copulating wood pigeons. Maybe one small positive outcome of all this will be that we appreciate the trees in our towns and cities a little bit more.  Maybe we will plan around green spaces and treasure the generous hosts that try to live among us.

Here’s a very lovely poem by Raj Arumugam which contains the verse:

under the
horse-chestnut tree
in the shade
with my little darling
are the loveliest moments

Take very good care of yourselves, my friends.  I wonder how things will be by the time I write my May chestnuts update.


PS the shop is now back open after a few weeks of being closed while I worked out how to dispatch safely and took some time to do some updating.  I’m only dispatching once a week now so please be patient waiting for your orders.  Thank you!

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