July, Sweet Chestnut
As I watch what feels like tropical rain falling outside, it seems appropriate that I’m writing about the sweet chestnut, most exotic of trees. To me they turn any woodland into a jungle, their large, simple, serrated leaves effortlessly fill gaps without blocking light. Their size, shape and transparency create vivid green images with dark edges and fish bone spines.
They are one of the last trees to flower. Pale yellow stars slowly elongate until, eventually the tree is completely wrapped in it’s own golden Milky Way. A heavy and heavenly blanket, smelling….. “unmistakeably of semen”…….. so Richard Mabey’s “Flora Britannica” tells me!
Unsurprisingly, I’m not keen now, to stick my nose into those hairy spread eagled stars. I’ll take his word for it and remain entranced by the visual delights of the sweet chestnut in July.