Monday, 6 June 2016

Appreciating Pines


It's quite hard to appreciate pine trees if you live with them.  Pines are pushy. They never let you forget they are there.  For a start they drop needles; which other tree's leaves are so pointed and intrusive that they push through socks, slippers, flipflops and hardened soles to dig into flesh. When I say 'drop' I mean chuck down kilos at a time.  I have just raked our terrace and filled and wheeled away 12 barrow loads of pine needles and there is still about the same amount left, hiding cunningly amongst the stones so I can't get them without taking all the pebbles off the surface.  Pines are also amazingly fecund. I come back to our village house after a few winter months and the terrace is filled with baby pine trees which have to be pulled up one by one if we are not to be engulfed triffid-style in a few years. In April, pines also blow out yellow pollen which turns to an oleaginous sludge when mixed with water and makes the garden look as if a phantom yellow paint splasher has been at work. I now know that this pollen is a miracle panacea should you be a gentleman a little short of testosterone, but I'm not, so I just get annoyed at the mess.  And as a final coup, if your garden is shaded by pines, you can forget growing anything else. A couple of years of pine needles will stunt the hardiest rose. 

 

There is only one way to appreciate a stately pine - lie directly underneath, preferably on a well cushioned lounger, not on the pine needle studded gravel and look up at the morning sun filtering through the highest branches and listen. As the sun warms the tree, each pine cone opens at its own pace with a muted crack - it's the sound of the tree waking up. And being the Aegean, as the day warms, the breeze rouses itself and swooshes through the branches reminding the cicadas that it's time to accompany the pine cone orchestra.
I forgive pine trees all their bad manners as long as I have my hearing but the moment I'm as deaf as a post, those pines will be off to the garden post factory.

20 comments:

  1. What an informative post! Who knew? I love your description of the tree responding to the sunlight and cracking open its cones! Never noticed before but will now! and all those needles! Wow. A tree not to be messed with.

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  2. Thanks Claudia, I take my morning coffee out to drink under the pines. It's the best bit of the day.

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  3. That is so descriptive Annie,I can visualise it perfectly and even smell the pines.

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    1. Great when it rains after a hot day

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  4. Love them, but glad I don't live with them! Axxx

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    1. Yep , I wouldn't choose to do it again

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  5. Can picture it now.....sounds lovely xx

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    1. Hope to see you under said pines soon

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  6. B to B, Ah yes, that 'oleaginous sludge'. In springtime, our island is surrounded with a huge yellow halo of the stuff blown into the ocean by the wind. But the more we live with these trees, the more we appreciate them in exactly the ways you describe. A really nice piece of writing.

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  7. So beautifully described Annie I almost felt I was under a pine tree

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    1. Hope you will come a visit and join me for coffee under the pines

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  8. . . you should appreciate your pines even more than you already do - they are obviously very considerate and 'user-friendly'. Try lying on a lounger under any of our sods and they'll drip resin all over you and the lounger!

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  9. Everyone always thinks the early spring pine pollen that settles in the bay in Fethiye is pollution. We always explain to our shocked friends, when they see it, that this 'pine paint' is the least of Fethiye's pollution worries. ;)

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  10. Beautifully described!:) I do love the smell and loved playing with the needles when I was a child! xx

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    1. You must have softer needles where you grew up

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