If you go down to the woods today…the chances are you won’t find bears stretched out with hampers.
If you go down to the woods today…the chances are, you won’t find bears stretched out on blankets with wicker hampers.
We often think of woods and forests as resplendent leafy places, where light dances through leaves and the breeze skips through the shadows, preceding rich Autumnal colours that capture entire landscapes, before falling to ground and Winter sets in.
A snow covered icy woodland or forest is a magical place, where branches bow heavy under their new blanket, sound is dampened and the loudest noise besides crunchy footsteps, is your heartbeat.
But what about now? On the average dreary soggy day like today? A whole new
World of architecture and unexpected colour, that’s what!
This Winter is the first I’ve witnessed in The National Arbotetum at Westonbirt in close up detail; I’ve had my eyes opened up to a whole new woodland usually hidden behind dresses of Summer foliage and it has to be said, there are some striking habits and colour that really stand out.
Approaching the dog friendly Silk Wood from the car park (the Old Arboretum area is doggy free) a fiery burst of red, gold and yellow break up the landscape.
Sea-Buckthorn berries are edible, highly nutritious, incredibly bitter and oily; unpleasant to eat raw they taste much better when mixed as a drink with sweeter fruits / juices.
Growing in coastal sandy areas our ancestors would have relied on them for a Winter supply of vitamin C and essential fats.
Follow the trail through the forest and make your very own stick man; help him survive! Click here to find a Juila Donaldson / Forestry Commission Trail near you.
You don’t have to go to an arboretum to find exciting winter colour or structure; perhaps there’s something growing in your garden, local park or woodland that’s always been there; a flowering Hellebore or Viburnum bodnantense? (Winter flowering trees and shrubs do so for a lot longer to maximise their chances of reproducing in harsher winter conditions, if they were to shrivel up at the first frost like their Summer blousey relatives, that would be it, gone!).
Perhaps there are bright, textured or smooth silvery barks hidden under the Summer foliage waiting for its moment to shine in Winter?
Go on, take a closer look… .