Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Horse Chestnut Trees: Ilford

I have written at length in previous posts about my involvement with Horse Chestnut, or "Conker", Trees. Briefly, I have planted many Conker tree that are the descendants of one I grew from a conker as a child. One of these my daughter and I planted in the garden of our house in Ilford. When we left Ilford I arranged for this tree to have a Preservation Order. This is similar to the Landmarking of trees in the United States, in that the designated trees cannot be cut down.

On returning to Ilford in May this year, with some trepidation I walked down a road from which I would be able to see this tree- assuming the new owners of the house had not disobeyed the ruling. To my delight, there it was in full bloom. towering above the fences:

I very much prefer the conkers with white flowers rather than red- the white flowers being more delicate and their leaves being more shapely than the crinkled ones on those with red flowers. However, when a child in Malvern- where I planted my first conker- I always enjoyed walking down some lanes in the Severn Valley where the owner of a large estate had planted alternate red and white flowering conkers in the hedges.

This brings me back to Valentines Park in Ilford: here they have planted avenues of red flowering trees and also have individual white ones. Actually, I would call them Pink rather than Red, as that is what they are. These pink ones flower at the same time as the Azaleas in the early Summer and I always find this exciting:

And here is a white flower to compare with a red one:

And here are some more images of the red/pink ones:

Similar to the Oak trees, Conkers are having a tough time with diseases which I have discussed here. so I won't go into detail about this now, apart from saying that one is a Blight which effects the leaves and the other is a Bleeding Canker. Both these diseases weaken their immune systems.

I will end with a couple of shots showing their bark:

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