The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?
The oak is traditionally considered to be the national tree of England, long associated with ship-building. Its acorns or 'mast' provided food for pigs and the tannin in its bark was used in the production of leather.
Britain has two native oaks, the English or Pedunculate (Quercus robur)and the Sessile or Durmast (Quercus petraea). The English oak is more rugged than the Sessile though there has been a certain amount of interbreeding between them. The English oak has short-stemmed leaves and long-stemmed acorn cups and the Sessile has long-stemmed leaves and stalkless acorn cups. The acorns of both trees are green like their cups but turn brown by autumn.
The Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)is Britain's only evergreen oak and was introduced from the Mediterranean in the 16th century. The leaves are long with no lobes and the acorns are short with at least half contained in a downy cup. The acorns are green at first and take two years to ripen.
The Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) has deeply lobed leaves, mossy-cupped acorns and rough dark grey bark. It was introduced in 1753, probably from the Balkans.
The Red Oak (Quercus rubra) has light grey bark and sharply angled lobes to the leaves with the veins of the lobes extending like bristles beyond the point. The acorns are short and broad in shallow cups. They ripen in the second year. The Red Oak is one of several North American red oaks planted in Britain for the richness and beauty of their autumn colour.
Oak woods provide food and shelter for a great variety of wildlife and their leaves rot into a soft mulch to support trees and shrubs such as Ash, Hazel and Holly. Their open canopies allow much light to filter through so that flowers like primroses, bluebells and violets thrive in the rich soil.
An oak tree supports at least 350 insect species, more than any other tree in Britain. Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Tree Creepers feed on the insects that live in the bark. Squirrels harvest the acorns and act as gardeners, burying their hoard in several different places. Wood pigeons, rooks and mice also feed on fallen acorns. Birds and small mammals in their turn attract Sparrowhawks, Buzzards and Owls.
I couldn't tell you which oaks are these in my photographs - I think they are English oaks though the first one looks more like a Sessile oak . . . too late and too dark now to go into the garden and carry out an identification!
Heart of Oak is the official march of the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. In this clip it is played by the Band of the Royal Marines. In case you feel like singing along, the words (written by the acclaimed 18th century English actor David Garrick) of the first verse and chorus are below! The 'wonderful year' of the verse is 1759-1760 during which the British were victorious at the Battle of Lagos, the Battle of Quebec City,the Battle of Quiberon Bay and the Battle of Wandiwash in India.
Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
To add something more to this wonderful year;
To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
For who are so free as the sons of the waves?
Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,
We always are ready; Steady, boys, steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.
Thanks are due to Mrs Nesbitt for hosting this meme. To see other 'Qs' please click here.