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Gill Buchanan's Blog

Quercus from November through to January

In the novel that I am currently writing, Wanda's Tree, there is an ancient oak tree called Quercus. So I have chosen a beautiful old oak tree at Ickworth to photograph each month. I chose my Quercus in November 2021 and these are two of the first images I captured. You'll see that Quercus has a pretty amazing view and still has its autumn leaves.

By December all the leaves are gone and the broken branches on the left hand side are more obvious. The photo on the left was taken on 19th December when we sang carols outside Ickworth Church and the whole park was shrouded with mist.

This tree hasn't lowered some of its branches to the ground yet, so it is probably in its resting period, between 300 and 600 years old. Quercus in my novel is 420.

As the oak tree ages, pieces of bark will loosen and crevices and holes will form too, all providing niches for wildlife to shelter, feed and breed. At this age, an oak trees houses over 3,000 different species including, lichens, mosses, aphids, insects, birds and bats. Of these 320 species can only survive in an oak tree.

During January we've seen a lot of blue sky and sunshine which has been very welcome in this bleak winter month. I think about how this oak tree and many others have stood in the same spot for hundreds of years and the many changes they have witnessed through the centuries. Whatever the weather, they are there, standing tall.


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