Mulberry Tree following. 7/4/14

It is a wet and miserable day but I have dutifully  made my way through the rain to check on my venerable old tree for Lucy’s meme  which involves a monthly update on the 7th of the month.

As you see not a lot is happening. But then if you are a 464 year old tree, a month is nothing but a blinking of an eye.  But there are no leaves yet. Pliny noticed that the mulberry comes into leaf late. He said: ‘Of all the cultivated trees, the Mulberry is the last to bud, which it never does until the cold weather is past, and it is therefore called the wisest of trees. But when it begins  to put forth buds, it dispatches the business in one night and that with so much force that their breaking forth may be clearly heard.’ This sounds a bit far fetched to me and I suppose a dedicated tree follower would take his tent and  his primus and take up residence by the tree to find out if this is really the case. But I am busy at the moment and anyway it would look odd. If passers-by asked me what I was doing I would have to explain that I was testing Pliny’s theory of  Mulberry bud popping. No, I can’t do it;  I live in a village. People talk.

The audible ‘bursting forth’ is clearly imminent though. You can see a little green at the tips.

By May we should have some leaves. I believe the Latin name for mulberry: Morus means delay and it is so called because it is wise enough to delay coming into leaf until the risk of frost damage is over. For this reason the tree was dedicated to the goddess  of wisdom, Minerva.

There are some little primroses and celandines nestled under the trunk and an Elder seedling has tucked itself in there too.

It is not too late to join Lucy’s meme and follow a tree on the 7th of each month. Why don’t you go over to LooseandLeafy and see what trees Lucy and other people are following?

I am going to give you a tour of the garden later this week because I normally get so intent on showing you close up shots of plants that I forget to put them in any sort of context. Cathy of Ramblinginthegarden tactfully suggested I should post some shots of the garden so that is what I will do.

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51 Responses to Mulberry Tree following. 7/4/14

  1. julietwilson says:

    Beautiful primroses

    I love your comments about Pliny’s theory…..


  2. Julie says:

    Brilliant post Chloris, you made me smile in an otherwise grey and drizzly day!

  3. Pauline says:

    Had to laugh when you said that you live in a village and people talk, I know exactly what you mean!! Your mulberry is sensibly taking its time, at such a great age it has time to spare, why should it rush into leaf. The planting at its feet is like a medieval tapestry – lovely.

  4. Alison says:

    I sometimes wonder what my neighbors think of my obsession with gardening. I’m sure they think I’m a bit nuts. But then, they all have their own obsessions. Looking forward to seeing your more in-depth post about your garden.

  5. Chloris says:

    Gardeners are all a bit nuts Alison, that’s what makes them such nice people.

  6. jenhumm116 says:

    I love the picture of the buds – as you say the ‘bursting forth’ is clearly imminent. Spring feels so ‘kinetic’.
    But come on, if I’m prepared to go over the road in the rain to measure the girth of my oak,( surely a tent and a primus is but a hop and a skip further?

  7. Chloris says:

    Yes but it doesn’t take all night to measure the girth does it? And actually, you haven’t mentioned the girth in your latest post. I think you just took a couple of photos out of the window.

  8. mrsdaffodil says:

    As gardeners all over the Northern hemisphere are waiting for new growth on their old favourites, it’s comforting to be told that one of our leafless trees “comes into leaf late”–especially from such a source as Pliny. I will look forward to your garden tour!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, but I’m not convinced that Pliny is a reliable source and as I’ m not prepared to test ‘the buds breaking forth may be clearly heard’ theory I don’t know how we can find out if he is to be trusted.

  9. AnnetteM says:

    What an interesting post. I have been wondering what on earth to talk about when my tree hasn’t done very much this last month. I think a bit of research is necessary……

  10. You’ve certainly made me chuckle about your take on testing out Pliny’s theory! I know what villages can be like! I’ll keep watching your Mulberry’s progress – and for a tree for me! From Ali!

  11. Chloris says:

    Come on, Ali, there are plenty of beautiful trees around at this time of the year. Do join in.
    I’m so glad I don’t have to go on calling you The Long Garden Path.

  12. Debra says:

    Love the primroses. sigh.
    Do you happen to know how old that mulberry is? The trunk and branches on yours seem nice and thick.

  13. Debra says:

    Wow. Knowing how old it is makes it even more amazing. That is a funny thing to put a corral around a tree .. but who knows … maybe it is one of Tolien’s ent wives!

    • Chloris says:

      And for all I know there might be gnomes hidden in there, I forgot to check that out. Unlikely though. You don’t see many of them round here.

  14. Kris P says:

    A 464 year old tree! A tree that old deserves homage. The closest we have are probably the giant redwoods to the north, which certainly draw reverence from anyone who sees them. Despite the fact that it currently feels more like summer than spring here in southern California, my Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) still shows no sign of life but your post on the slow-leafing Mulberry caused me to check my records – if it follows last year’s pattern, the Mimosa won’t leaf out until June or flower until July.

    • Chloris says:

      That is late. I had an Albizia julibrissin once which I grew from seed. I was very proud of it but it died one really cold winter. I haven’t had the heart to try it since.

      • Kris P says:

        I could pass along 100 seedlings, Chloris. Our Albizia is seeking world domination – seedlings pop up everywhere and I live in fear that I’ll miss some and end up with an Albizia forest in my backyard.

  15. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post about a wonderful tree. xx

  16. croftgarden says:

    I adore mulberries and it is such a pity that the trees are nor more widely grown. I have recently discovered that they can be grown in containers or as espaliers so who knows perhaps they might come back into fashion.

    • Chloris says:

      I didn’t know that you can grow them in containers. But I went to an interesting talk about trees on Saturday by Nick Dunn from Frank Matthews: Trees for Life, and he said you can grow virtually any tree in a container as long as you trim the roots regularly and refresh the compost.

  17. Wise and tasty, can’t say fairer than that. Great post, the suspense is building and I love a good quote!

  18. Chloris says:

    Thank you Gill. Longevity, wisdom, luscious fruit and loud bud bursting. What more can you ask of a tree?

  19. Have you considered setting up a mulberry bud popping cam with audio? Just a suggestion.

  20. Chloris says:

    Well, no I haven’t actually. I don’t think we can believe everything Pliny the Elder says. I think he’s a tad unreliable. I’ve been looking into his writings. He says that ‘the hand of a person carried off by premature death cures by a touch scrofulous sores, diseased parotid glands, and throat affections’. He reckons that the tooth of a dead person worn as an amulet is very good for toothache, and let’s not go into his suggestions for the medical uses of urine. Except I must mention that he believes that urine mixed with an ostrich egg is good for sunburn.
    Now, even if I knew how, which I don’t, I can’t go around setting up audio cameras to test the theory of a man who comes up with such weird theories as these.I don’t believe a word he says.
    Perhaps Pliny the Younger was more reliable.

    • This raises all kinds of questions. Such as: why an ostrich egg? And, did P the E decide one day to mix his pee with an ostrich egg and try it out on various maladies until it worked on something? I can imagine the sick people of his day hiding to avoid his ministrations.

  21. Alain says:

    Those fat buds look beautiful. Such a majestic tree. We also have some very old trees nearby (Thuja occidentalis) but they are not as impressive as your mulberry because they grow as bonsai on the face of a cliff. Some are thought to be more than 700 year old.

    • Chloris says:

      I had no idea that Thuya could be as old as that. The reason that Morus nigra can achieve such longevity is because when the branches fall down they root and regenerate the tree.

  22. Jane Strong says:

    This is one of the most amazing posts I’ve ever read! I had no idea there were mulberry trees this old, nor of the meaning of the name. Here they are planted in the school yard to provide food for the silkworms that the children raise in their classrooms each year. I love the idea of “tree following” as well. Good job!

  23. Chloris says:

    Thank you Jane. I expect the Mulberry in the school yard is Morus alba. This one, Morus nigra is not suitable for silkworm production.
    Are you tree following? I’m off to take a look at your blog.

  24. Cathy says:

    Such wisdom and humour from one post and its comments….. But are you trying to convince us that your Suffolk villagers actually believe you are a woman and not a nymph? Look forward to the long views…

  25. Chloris says:

    Thank you Cathy. No, the people round here have no idea that I am Chloris, the goddess of flowers. I only found out recently that Chloris is also Nymph of the Islands of the Blessed. I must admit I don’t look very nymph-like. So they will never guess.
    Long views coming up in the next few days.

  26. Anna says:

    I’m learning so much about of mulberry trees Chloris thanks to you and I’m already looking forward to next month’s post. What beautiful adornment at your tree’s feet.

  27. Chloris says:

    Thank you Anna, I do love this tree watching meme. It makes you want to learn as much about your chosen tree as possible. And of course you are watching it month by month. It makes you notice so much more than you would otherwise. I am enjoying reading other tree followers’ posts too, and learning more about other trees.

  28. bittster says:

    That collection at it’s feet is amazing, there’s more of a garden there than in many of my own beds! Just a reminder of how protecting one obvious treasure usually gives a home to numerous others.
    I’ll be listening from here for the pop! 😉

  29. Amanda Scott says:

    I really like trees that wait a bit longer to start budding. All that expectancy! I don’t know very much about Mulberry, so am looking forward to following your posts each month about it.

  30. CathyT says:

    What a lovely post, as everyone else has said: a beautiful old tree. And so nice to find so many people interested in the progress of a tree and to be pointed towards Lucy’s meme. Thanks

  31. alderandash says:

    Oh go on, do camp out and listen – do it for us! Though I agree, Pliny does sound given to making things up…I will look forward to catching up with Mulberry Cam next month (or at least, reading about your tree here…)

  32. Great info. Thanks. I love the idea of such a wise tree. I now want to plant a Mulberry of my own. One question, How do you know how old it is. D.

  33. kaypasser says:

    Pliny was absolutely right. you really can hear the buds bursting in the right conditions… theres a youtube video of it with good audio…its even mentioned in the book of samuel… “…And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines…” in st georges square in the elephant and castle, central london uk, where there are many old and venerated mulberry trees, at the right time of year on a bright spring day you can experience it for yourself, even over the noise of traffic.. in this video you can just about hear it as a faint snapcracklepop…

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