Monday, 2 May 2022

Ginkgo - spring is here!

Spring is a lovely time of year, and I am always fascinated by how different plants appear at different times: they don't all burst into life on the same day, but instead they take turns.

Usually we attribute this to the weather, and of course the weather makes a huge difference - a mild spring will obviously bring out a lot of plants earlier, whereas a long, cold, dark, harsh winter will set almost everything back.

Not quite everything, of course, because some plants respond to day length, so they will start budding on pretty much the same day of the year, every year: but most plants respond to temperature, so they respond to the weather.

Every year I say to myself that this year, I will keep a journal of when the various trees in my garden start opening their leaves. So that I can start to get a record of which ones respond to day length, and which ones respond to weather.

Every year, I forget....

But instead of letting this bother me, I have decided to share with you a simple photo of a simple tree, sending out the first few leaves in my back garden:

There you go, isn't that lovely?

|It's a Ginkgo, I've had it for many years but it's growing in a pot, so it remains quite small.

This is one of those oddments in the tree world: technically it's not a Broadleaf, but nor is it a Conifer. It's one of those hangovers from prehistoric times, often being described as a living fossil (along with the Ceolocanth, a fish which I find utterly fascinating); this doesn't mean that the tree in my garden is 65 million years old, it just means that it hasn't changed or evolved to any great degree, in all that time.

I like my little Ginkgo because the leaves are an unusual shape, and they appear all over the tree, including on the stem: not just on the tips of the branches.

As an aside, how do you pronounce that word? I've noticed that almost everybody - myself included - says Gin-Ko. 

That's not "gin" as in the stuff you drink, it's a soft "g", like the one in "begin". So it's almost be-gin-ko.

Which is, let's face it, easier to say.

But technically, it should be gink-go!

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