Friday, December 07, 2007

Snowy Chester County

The farm where we rent our cottage is nestled in Chester County, just outside of Philadelphia. For the last few days we’ve had a beautiful little snow dusting and crispy, cold temperatures. Our snowfall accumulated roughly two inches, and officially brought winter to our neck of Pennsylvania.

Yesterday’s sunrise illuminated the many oak trees which have not yet released their leaves. This phenomenon, called “leaf marcescence,” is common among oaks (Quercus), beeches (Fagus), and a few other deciduous trees. (Remember you can click on pictures to enlarge). I hope to take a drive up toward Phoenixville some time this winter so I can bring you pictures at Arboreality – there are beautiful swaths of forests (and lovely planted sycamores in town), and the blush of the young beech trees is always a warming sight in the cold of winter.

Of course, I can’t resist an excuse to share another picture of the stone silo. As an artist, I am perpetually inspired by the intermixing of farm, forest, and fauna here at my Pennsylvania home. This stone silo is one of a handful of remnants of the original farming days which once defined Chester County and the greater Brandywine Valley region. The third image is one of my favorite romantic staples in these parts: the elegant, imposing Black walnut (Juglans nigra).

Today, much of this land is being converted to suburban housing. Fortunately, the local culture allows room for a genuine interest in conservation, as demonstrated by the Open Space Preservation Department of Chester County. Last winter I had the pleasure of interviewing the Director, Mr. Bill Gladden. Check out the interview here at Arboreality, and stop by the Open Space Preservation Department website to learn more about local efforts to retain forest and farmland in the area.

Coming up at Arboreality: Christmas trees, winter planting, and green holidays.

Looking to bring a few more trees to your blog? The Festival of the Trees is a monthly blog carnival featuring trees and forests from around the blogosphere. Stop by the Festival of the Trees coordinating blog to learn how you can contribute your tree posts, or volunteer to host the festival right at your own blogging home! (An April volunteer is needed! April means Arbor Day for many in the US... what better time to host the Festival of the Trees?)


  1. Thanks for the FOOT plug! I just updated the sidebar listing to make it clear that May and June were spoken for.

    Yes, it's not unusual for oaks to hold onto their leaves, but this is the latest we've seen seen them in 35 years. I blogged about it here.

  2. Thanks for the link Dave - I'm glad you found a few articles to plug into the discussion.

  3. Wonderful black walnut...thank you for reminding that it could be clicked on. I have noticed that about tree don't see what the artist/photographer was looking at when the tree photo is squeezed onto a blog, but when you enlarge it...well, I see why you framed it as you did-so lovely!

  4. Thank you for the link. I've been adding quite a few "tree" related posts to my UK wildlife blog. Beautiful pictures!

  5. Beautiful photos Jade, as usual!

  6. I really like the old silos and odd farm outbuildings, and find myself taking pictures of them a lot. I'm glad you mentioned the oaks keeping their leaves longer this year, I thought it was just my imagination when I noticed it myself.


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