Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sissinghurst 2 and King's Wood

Back to Sissinghurst today to spend more time on the gardens and less on structures.  The first photo contains a "Oh, so that's what that means!" moment for us.  The term for this walkway with trees is "pleached allee" .  Of course, allee is simply French for path, walkway, etc.  It's the term pleached for which I did not have the correct definition.  So here's the explanation - long form.  First these trees were espaliered which usually means grown against a framework so the branches can be "wired" to that framework in the manner desired.  Fruit trees are often espaliered to keep them small, branches straight out to either side, and fruits easily picked.  The trees in this picture haven't been grown against a framework, but their branches have been trained to reach toward the tree to the right and the left (if they reach forward or back, they are pruned).  Then the branches from the touching trees are "pleached" which means interwoven (in this case, the interweaving was achieved by actually grafting the branches together, and that's what D is looking at - the grafts).  Okay, a lot of information, but now think about it.  What do these trees now form?  Hint - what did I tell you yesterday the English are very good at?

HEDGES; pleached trees make a terrific type of hedge!

Looking through a "window" in the wildlife garden.  Statuary (frequently Pan, satyrs, nymphs, country maids or lads) can provide a touch of whimsy or denotes a freedom from convention.

Another important part of the wildlife garden - water.  Even with algae this is a lovely spot.  The reflections are great, and I can imagine one can see wildlife here from time to time.

White wisteria draping the walls of one of the garden rooms.

I chose this photograph rather than one that shows the entire length of azalea hedge because you can see the color better in this shot.  The yellow azalea was frequently part of the gardens we visited; it is intensely fragrant.

Still another tree for my collection; this is Acer griseum.  Its common name is Paperbark Maple.  I had to look it up to find out why "griseum"  which I thought meant gray, and this tree's bark is so wonderfully red I couldn't imagine how it became Maple (Acer) gray (griseum).  Turns out the underside of its leaf is grayish.  I still think it should have been given a name that paid homage to its bark rather than its leaf!

Portrait of a rose.

Portrait of a sheep.

Color contrast - purple and orange and green.  Contrasting shapes.  Contrasting textures.  Even contrasting sizes.  Great photo for a beginning quilt class studying how to choose fabrics.

Portrait of English wild life.
Magpie and hares.

Now the King's Wood.  Another vocabulary lesson:  Noun: We went to a coppice. Verb: Beech and hazel trees are frequently coppiced.  Adjective: I saw a coppiced tree.  Some types of trees can withstand and even thrive on being regularly cut back.  They send up shoots to replace the parts that have been cut back.  The parts that are cut are used as poles or firewood depending on size.  The part of the tree that is left is called a "stool".

The coppiced tree in the middle of the photo has a stool in the center and the new trunks have grown up around it.  

A coppiced wood is a very healthy, carefully tended wood great for plant and animal alike - think biodiversity.

It is in a coppiced wood that you would find the carpets of bluebells like the photos I shared on Facebook last week.  When we were in England, the bluebells were finished, but our horticultural expert found this broken one to show us.  On the tree behind her hand you can see a blaze that signals the foresters whether it is to be coppiced this year or has already had it done.

By bombarding you with terms and quirky details, I am in effect making for myself both a travel log and a means of fixing information in my head.  Before I included them in this entry, I checked definitions to be sure I was right (did griseum mean gray as I thought? yes, and I learned why), is pollarding a tree the same as coppicing? (no, similar but not the same), did I spell espalier correctly or should it have a double L? (no double letters) and so on.  I hope it isn't too tedious for you, but it is a necessary part of my writing and learning.  Thank you for your forbearance.



  1. I'm hoping there isn't a test at the end of the blogs about England. Right now the only thing I truly remember is that the English are great at making hedges. Otherwise, it's just plain beautiful and I'll just enjoy it through your photos!!

  2. Noel, I think our learned instructor would be very proud of you, although I do not think she held out hope that any one of us would remember or care. I, too, find myself putting together a photo album with comments that I plan to share with those interested--not as detailed as yours, but also with a desire for accuracy. By the way, I never saw the red blaze on the tree. Keep up the commentary. It helps me keep the facts in my head as well.