Tree Following. The Horse Chestnut in May.

 Aesculus hippocastanum.





At last the long awaited flowers are coming out on the Aesculus hippocastrum which I am looking at each month. I am joining in with Lucy’s tree following meme at Looseandleafy blog.
The flowers of the Horse Chestnut are synoecious which means there are male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. I am quite glad to know this as I enjoy new words and this was certainly new to me. It comes from the Greek for ‘dwelling in the same house’.

I was hoping that the tree would be showing all its glory for May’s tree following meme but there are still many buds yet to open.
As you can see the tree is very tall. I am hoping to put an owl box up high in the tree. I have seen barn owls around this year and I would love to have them nesting in the garden. The Pianist has said he will make me a box, but I don’t know who will volunteer to climb up 20 feet or so to secure the box.

This is the barn owl I saw just up the road in March when I was lucky enough to have my camera with me.

The leaves  on the Chestnut are palmate with 5 or 7 pointed leaflets from the central stem. We had a very windy day earlier this week and I though the leaves were hanging a bit limply after the battering they received. But maybe the new leaves always look like this, I  have never noticed before.
Quite a few branches were broken off. We often seem to get a really fierce wind in May and usually it wrecks the irises but this year they are not out yet so they are safe for now.

If we have some really hot days it would be a nice, cool place to sit in the shade of this lovely tree. You can see how we cut paths through the  daffodils and wild flowers so that it looks as if they are meant to be there. This year I managed to persuade the Pianist to cut  sinuous, winding paths rather than the isosceles triangles which he prefers. The hedges are lined with cow parsley which gives a lovely frothy effect.
The little tree to the right of the apple tree is a quince, Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranja’ which I am delighted to see is full of blossom.It is still quite young;  last year it bore one quince.

The other Chestnut tree is not so far on and its buds are not open yet. It is a mystery why two trees, side by side should get leaves and flowers at different times.

The log pile  is waiting to be chopped up.  I am looking forward to that pile disappearing but it never seems to get any smaller.

One thing that is baffling me about my tree is the fact that it sprouts from the base. I wonder if it has been damaged at some time to make it do this. I wish it wouldn’t, I would rather  a nice smooth trunk.
I have started to make a little woodland garden under these trees, but this is very much a work in progress and not ready to be shown yet.

If you go over to Loseandleafy you can see the trees that Lucy and other tree followers are enjoying this month.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Tree Following. The Horse Chestnut in May.

  1. Tina says:

    Such a beautiful tree. Those blossoms are gorgeous, do they have a fragrance? Love the owl–20 feet up is scarily high, though.

    • Chloris says:

      No I don’ t think they are fragrant. I will have to go and sniff tomorrow to make sure.
      I will have to check the height but I know that barn owl boxes need to be high up.

  2. Pauline says:

    I was wondering the same as you. We have 2 Chestnuts, one is in full flower but the one next to it has buds but none have opened yet. The one which has more light is the one that hasn’t opened its buds, I would have thought it would be the other way round! Love the barn owl photo!

  3. Anna says:

    I can see the candles on our chestnut trees glimmering in tonight’s heavy rain Chloris but it’s too wet for me to venture out to see if any of them are sprouting from the base. I will have to report back. They look fabulous at this time of year. Thanks for a new to me word too in “synoecious” 🙂

  4. Cathy says:

    I think the view while sitting beneath its branches on a warm day must be just as nice as looking at it from further back. A lovely shaped tree and yes, it is very tall isn’t it! It would be magical to have owls nesting in it.

    • Chloris says:

      I never think of sitting here on a hot day because our hammocks hang from trees in a different part of the garden. This year perhaps we will have a change of scene.

  5. Julie says:

    I have seen horse chestnut leaves looking slightly desiccated after the strong winds this week, I think that is the wind and not young growth. I love this tree and the the new shaped paths, really lovely scenic post.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Julie. I hope the leaves will recover. Some of my Acers have rather dessicated looking leaves too. It has been windy again today, one does get a bit sick of it.

  6. mattb325 says:

    I love the fresh, new leaves of the horse chestnut – pity they start to get quite ratty by the end of summer! Looking forward to seeing this lovely tree in bloom 🙂

  7. rusty duck says:

    If you are lucky enough to have a barn owl you should definitely put up the box. There must be a nice young man in the village who could take on the task? 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      It would be lovely to have an owl box and I will try to find someone. I don’ t want to ask my son because as a child he was constantly falling out of trees.

  8. Brian Skeys says:

    A Horse Chestnut in full flower is a wonderful sight, we have one in our neighbours garden. I think a Quince is worth growing for the flowers alone, they are beautiful. I am envious of the Barn Owl photo, I haven’t seen one in the wild for a long time. The one on my arm was in a rescue centre.

    • Chloris says:

      I wondered how you came to have a barn owl on your arm. They are such beautiful birds. They got very scarce round here but they seem to be making a comeback now.
      I love quince blossom too.

  9. Good luck with encouraging the Barn Owls. The Horse Chestnut is a beautiful tree, very regal. Does yours get those leaf miners later?

  10. Flighty says:

    A wonderful tree, and like so many so important for wildlife like owls. It’s been much too windy this week. xx

  11. Hollis says:

    Beautiful scenes — so green, so full of vegetation, so different! (from mine)

  12. linniew says:

    Oh I love the owl image– ghostly. I hope you pursue the box idea although I don’t know of any owls in boxes. Except I found a young white owl in the firebox once, behind the fireplace screen one morning. We opened a large window, lifted the screen and he flew right out. Eerie and special. –The chestnut tree is so beautiful. I love the tulip mix in the banner photo too.

    • Chloris says:

      A barn owl came down the chimney of a friend of mine. I don’ t know who was more surprised, my friend or the owl. People put up boxes for them because there are not many barns left for them to nest in.

  13. The leaves of your tree are so interesting and look so lush. It’s a beautiful tree. I hope you get that owl box!

    • Chloris says:

      I hope to get the owl box too although it is too late for this year. But next year who knows? It would be wonderful to have these beautiful birds nesting in the garden.

  14. I’m with Jessica, the idea that you might actually have a Barn Owl nesting in your garden has to be worth finding someone with a head for heights to place it for you… I love the candlesticks of horse chestnuts, and look forward to seeing your little woodland area develop. And three cheers for curvaceous paths…

    • Chloris says:

      I am working on a woodland garden, although progress is slow with so many other jobs needing attention. Yes, I am pleased with curving paths meandering through the wild flowers.

  15. Lucy Corrander says:

    It’s one of the special things about horse chestnuts; their leaves start life as limp handkerchiefs and finish up as threadbare, over-used ones. In between – of all our trees I think they are the most regal.

  16. as a child my friends and I thought the new chestnut leaves looked like fairy umbrellas, your tree and it’s surroundings sound almost magical, I agree re the barn owl box, it would be great if you can get it put up, thanks for the info about my pinus contorta, Frances

  17. Angie says:

    I too agree with the idea of putting up a box. As Jessica says, there must be a nice young man that would oblige – my friend’s son is an experienced climber, sadly too far away to help.
    Only the other day, I noticed a large horse chestnut with droopy leaves – not something I’ve noticed either. As usual it’s a treat to see your garden and my how that lilac stands out – a perfect spot for it.

    • Chloris says:

      Maybe my son will shin up the tree for me.
      The chestnut leaves are always droopy at this time of the year.
      I alway forget that little lilac is there. It smells wonderful. I have a big one in the front garden which I use for cutting for the house, so this little one gets overlooked.

  18. Kris P says:

    I hope you figure out a way to get the box up that tree for the owl – he’d look very handsome sitting in your pretty tree.

  19. Will you cut off all those sprouts? That’s what I would do. I love the grass path cut through the taller grasses and flowers. Very exciting that you caught the barn owl at just the right moment.

  20. And I must add that synoecious is an excellent word, even better than drupe!

  21. Chloris says:

    Ah yes, drupe is so last year!

  22. pbmgarden says:

    This is a beautiful tree. I like the way the leaves hand in clusters. Haven’t seen an owl in many years here. Lucky you.

  23. snowbird says:

    This has made me pay attention to the leaves and flowers of the horse chestnut…..oh I say! What a marvelous barn owl and yes, of course the box must be put up, although not by you….a fit healthy young chap should be immediately coerced to do the task…

    • Chloris says:

      I would like an owl box but I don’ t know any healthy fit young men, except for my son who has a history of falling out of trees. The Pianist is particularly accident prone and falls out of anything or over anything. The last time he climbed a tree he fell out of it clutching a chainsaw. The image will stay with me forever. I will have to look out for passing fit young men on the road.

      • snowbird says:

        Oh good grief!!! Please keep your chaps away from trees and power tools!!!! I shall have nightmares now thinking of the Pianist falling with a chainsaw….I think that image shall remain with me forever too! You shall have to venture into the village and grab the first sturdy chap you see….with a fist full of dollars…xxx.

  24. Christina says:

    I may have said this before, but I think it is wonderful your garden is large enough for a Horse chestnut, one of my favourite trees. I saw one in full bloom last weekend when we were gong to Orvieto.

  25. Pat Webster says:

    I adore horse chestnut trees. I’m in Italy at the moment and they are blooming everywhere. I saw a particularly nice one in Parco Massari in Ferrara and a stunning red/yellow cultivar near my hotel. I posted photos on my blog ( and on Facebook (Site and Insight, or Glen Villa Gardens) if you want to take a look. As for the drooping leaves, despite the hot weather and lack of rain here, the leaves do not droop like yours.

  26. Chloris, you have an owl, too! It looks almost ghost-like with that lighting.

  27. Chloris says:

    I had to take the photo through the car window as I daren’ t open the door for fear of scaring him off. So the mistiness is probably dirty window. Still it was a thrill to see him sitting there. Barn owls are magical birds.

  28. Debra says:

    What a lovely tree. I like the leaves very much. One of my pecan trees is doing the same thing and I also wondered if it is a sign of injury. That owl is magnificent. I hope you can find a safe way to hang a nesting box up for it. Having an owl live nearby would be soooo nice.

  29. Chloris your tree is so much fun…love the different leaves and that there are owls….we have been finding seedlings all over we have never seen before and the leaves look like the chestnut…but we do not have chestnuts so not sure what is going on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s