Birch trees – Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh – Watercolour/Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine

Although not a snowy scene (There’s nae snaw left) this is meant to show how trees can depict the changes in the seasons. Birch trees are among the first to come into leaf and set seed (catkins in this case). The ones in my garden always manage to drop the seed just as I plant out my summer vegetables but this is a small price to pay as they provide so much pleasure. The Scots name for the birch, or birk, is the “lady of the forest” and this description is apt as they delicately move in the gentlest of breezes. (Sorry for the stereotype girls). Birks are the first to colonise fresh woodland after, say, a fire and are useful to allow longer lived species, such as beech or oak, to become established.

This scene shows types of birches which I am not familiar with and I really should have read the labels attached to them. These ones are typically, however, just beginning to show the first sign of their buds opening. All I know is they are not the two most common Scots varieties – the Scots birch and the Betula Pendula which has long graceful drooping branches.