Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NATURE NOTES


Last week we visited The Oatlands Plantation, near Leesburg, Virginia.  We have lived here for years and have passed the entrance I can't remember how many times, but this is the first time we visited.  After a friend told us about taking her granddaughter, and when Gregg said we should take a ride somewhere, I suggested Oatlands.  


We didn't actually tour the house, but were more interested in walking around their extensive garden.  This post for Michelle's Natures Notes is about the magnificent trees we found there.  Other posts will follow about the garden.


The tree in the photo above is called a Yellow Buckeye.   According to the website page, it says it is "Perhaps the most beautiful of the buckeyes, it has yellow flowers borne on erect panicles in early spring.  Since colonial times, buckeyes have been carried by many school children and adults as good luck charms, even though they are poisonus.  Cultivated 1764 - Aesculus octandra - Virginia Native."  The Buckey leaf is below.


The Osage Orange




I love the bark on this tree.


Again from the website, "Osage Orange.  While George Carter was building his house and plantation at Oatlands, this tree was notated in the Lewis & Clark expedition journal on March 26, 1804 in St. Louis, Missouri.  From the wood, native Americans made archery bows and early settlers made a yellow dye for fabric that was extracted from the root bark.  Before barbed wire was introduced, rows of these thorny trees were planted as living fences/hedges.  Cultivated 1818 - Maclura pomifer - Native."

Shagbark Hickory

The tree in the photo above and below fascinated me.  I had never seen anything like it before, the way its bark peeled away from the trunk.  The description on this one read, "The Shagbark Hickory.  Not just another hickory tree at Oatlands.  This large specimen flaunts foot-long shingles warping away from the trunk.  The nuts were highly prized by Native Americans and early settlers.  In autumn our squirrels rush to their droppings.  Cultivated 1629 - Carva ovata - VA native."


Bald Cypress

"Next to the Osage Orange is a cone-bearing deciduous conifer that naturally thrives in swamps.  In the fall, bronze needles drop in a rusty carpet below.  This type of tree can live over one thousand years, and its durable timber has been known as "the wood eternal."  Cultivated 1640 - Taxodium distichum - Virginia Native"



There are other trees at the plantation and you can read them at this link.



The Oatlands Plantation exceeded expectations.  We are definitely going to be adding this on our places-to-go list.  Leave that place and you will definitely want to hug a tree.  I'd like to end with this.

Prayer of the Woods

"I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights, the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun, and my fruits are refreshing draughts
 quenching your thirst as you journey on. I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat. I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle 
and the shell of your coffin. I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty. "Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer.  Harm me not."

(I don't know the author but I read that this prayer has been used in the Portuguese forest preservations for more than 1,000 years.  I hope someone can verify this.  It is a lovely prayer.)



I am joining Nature Notes, with my thanks to Michelle for hosting this wonderful meme.   You can click on the link below to visit Michelle's blog and to visit the other participants.

23 comments:

  1. Aren't trees lovely. I love trees. They are indeed majestic. That's why it pains me every year to pull out all the acorn babies. I absolutely love the poem. I am stealing it. Thanks for sharing it :)

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  2. It's good that you dropped into this place. I like trees.

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  3. Denise, the prayer you are sharing is lovely! Your photos are gorgeous and I love the lush green!

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  4. Oh! Oh! I am so excited and almost rendered speechless! How I love the trees! They are huge and wonderful! I am so glad you posted their names and told a bit about each. And the poem is so gorgeous that I have copied it. I know this post must have taken some time, but it is greatly appreciated! I must go to this place, we live not far, maybe a couple hours.

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  5. Gorgeous things.
    If I get my wish, in the fullness of time, my body will feed a tree.

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  6. Interesting post. I did not know that buckeyes are poisonous.

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  7. this is a gorgeous place to wander around and the trees with their fantastic bark are magkificent.

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  8. Bela e imponentes árvores, que gostei de ver.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

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  9. Hello, Denise. Gorgeous set of photos. The trees are all beautiful, some have interesting looking bark. I love the prayer! Enjoy your day and week ahead!

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  10. they have this note prayer in some of our state parks, i first saw it in Hillsbourgh state park and it is in one of the gardens here also. that shagbark is just about the most amazing bark i have ever seen.. all these trees are spectacular and i am with you, trees over houses anytime. what a wonderful place to visit and wander. awesome tree pics

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  11. Wow that sure is an interesting garden so far. The trees and their descriptions were very interesting.

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  12. Wow, what a beautiful trees! Thank you so much for sharing them with me and others. I love trees!

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  13. What beautiful trees. From the names, they're very Southern.

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  14. Old as the plantation itself looks to be the trees. Love this place.

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  15. Magnificent trees. Thank you for the interesting information about trees I'm not familiar with. I've learnt something new. A good prayer.

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  16. Nice photos of the trees. David visited Muir Woods in San Francisco area and learned those ancient Sycamore trees don't have any other use than to be looked at.

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  17. I remember being warned about the buckeyes in a neighbor's yard. They looked like big chestnuts to me. You found some interesting bark!

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing these exquisite photos of all those interesting trees. You KNOW how much we love trees.

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  19. How true that wood is many parts of our lives. I love all the different barks that you photographed. Here in New Zealand, we still have many 'fences' made of trees, mostly pines that are cut flat. And thorn bushes are the dividers of many dairy pastures.

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  20. What a wonderful tree the shagbark is..and a beautiful area to walk around in... Happy Weekend Denise...Michelle

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  21. Beautiful trees and that prayer is just perfect.

    All the best Jan

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  22. So many wonderful trees.
    Would like to sit under that Yellow Buckeye and simply gaze around.

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