Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lacebark elms

My office window looks out on a park's picnic area, a quiet shaded place in a grove of trees. It's a tranquil place, and it's nice during the work day to stop, turn away from the computer monitor and look at the park and the trees.

The trees are Ulmus parvilfolia, common name Chinese elm; but they're also sometimes called lacebark elms, which is, I think, a nicer name, and refers to the pretty mottled cinnamon and grey mottled texture of the bark.

Click to "embiggen"
One of the reasons I like to look out the window is to see the way the sun plays through the elms' leaves. Lacebark elms have slender, graceful branches that twine sinuously, making a wide canopy over the picnic area, and their leaves are small, pointed ovals that grow in clusters on delicate branches, slightly weeping so they dangle almost like fringe overhead.

I read that they color red, purple or gold in the fall, but this is Southern California, and even though it's almost November, the trees out my window are still leafed green, although when the sun filters through them, it turns a lovely greeny-gold that glows beyond the brown branches.

Beyond the picnic area, the smooth grass knolls of the park also glow green with sunlight. This tranquil scene changes as the day goes on and the sun turns overhead.

Morning trees
In the morning, the park is quiet. There may be a mower or tractor on the lawns, and here under the elms there's often an exercise or T'ai Chi class taking place - I like these second the best, because the instructor's boom box plays soothing Chinese music, all plinking lute strings and reedy flutes. The sun is low but bright in the sky over the parking lot, and its rays filter through the delicate leaves into my window to splash my office walls.

The playground goes into action mid-morning, kids running and squealing. Little boys on little bikes zoom by on the paths. Nannies roll strollers by. Later in the afternoon, older kids come to the park after school, and skateboard on the concrete walkways and sometimes on the wheelchair ramp that goes up to our office door. Basketballs thunk and ring as instructors teach the pee-wee classes how to dribble.

By evening the sun has made its arc overhead, and the light comes in from the west now, throwing long shadows from the trees' trunks. It's warmer gold in the evening.  There's something wonderful about being able to watch the full cycle of the day, as it revolves around the slender trunk of a tree.



Never heard them called Lacebark. All the seeds from them now bring loads of saplings in a few months.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Nice pics, Aunt Snow.

The trees here in West Va. have been putting on a fall spectacular.