Buds to Berries – A Handsome Hawthorn

Fresh new year shoots.

Out of cold grey metal-hardened bark, the softest greenest shoots miraculously appear each spring. Keen new growth for a new season appears from tangled stand alone trees, or from individuals intertwined within field hedgerow communities.

Wire thin, pliable and verdant stems along with tiny fan shaped leaves build and stretch themselves towards the light. As growing days pass, the monotone branch network becomes gradually dressed in green, a true green screen that closes the world to all but the smallest of creatures, who then sing safely from within.

May blossom weeks before bud burst.

From April onwards this new year softness reigns and fills us with hope, but nature’s offer is more than skin deep, as whilst leaves flicker playfully in the breeze, tiny buds busy themselves growing the season’s prettiest white flowers. Yet, despite appearances, a harshness remains hidden, concealed beneath a canopy of hope.

Beyond the pretty facade you see, strong needle sharp thorns grow here and there, awaiting a poorly placed hand. Tiny spears ready to stab with ease and pierce the soft flesh of any man, woman or child who dares to get up too close and personal. Make no mistake, the handsome hawthorn is very capable of defending itself.

The Handsome Hawthorn itself.

Despite the points that get us cussing, treasure this characterful tree we must as spring days pass: for the protection they bring to our gardens, fields and woodland margins, for the flowers that delight our eyes and bees, and for their berries loved by our blackbirds. See the hawthorn tree, enjoy it for all that it is, but beware those thorns!

Written by Gary Webb.

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