Monday, May 9, 2011

The Chestnut Tree

Click on photos to Enlarge
While the weatherman says "more rain forecast", the garden does 'the happy dance'. One tree, in particular, shines for me this time of year, with it's almost primal leaves unfurling from enormous buds at the end of long slim smooth limbs. She is, Aesculus x carnea 'Briotti'; the Red Horse Chestnut.

Ours is about eleven years old and was first planted in full sun, however, it surely didn't like that as the leaves scorched the first two summers. So, we moved it, with fingers crossed, to the dappled shade side of the lot and except for a haircut during Hurricane Juan, she has continued to thrive. Last year though, there was bark damage I attributed to a bobcat, but that seems to have healed now to some degree. Referring to my garden books, it looks as if we were wise to move 'Briotti', and our quick draining acid soil is preferred above others. We never get any conkers off it, as the squirrels have them straight away before they can even form into hard nuts...still, I wouldn't be without it and hope it lives a nice long life.

The leaves are now unfurling.........

.........forming it's flowers, each in it's own orchestrated, beautiful way.

Soon, 'Briotti' will be a sea of bloom, covered in bees, back dropped by pine, maple and spruce. If you have room for this Chestnut, I would highly recommend it.


  1. oh so gorgeous...I love the unfurling this time of year. think I might. unfurl that is.

  2. 'almost primal leaves'.. LOVE it!! so true too. I had already forgotten about the chestnuts in France.. everywhere we went, they were in bloom.. bright pink flowers, so cheerful along the streets of Paris. Thanks for this reminder.. nice to have a second show now that we're home..

    thanks for a taste of spring on another dreary day..

  3. These photos are just spectacular Bren! And what a lovely showing of pink flowers on your tree ... a nice reminder that spring really is coming... we have more rain and kinda chilly today...

  4. The close-ups of that chestnut are amazing! It reminds me of the buckeye tree my parents have in their yard.

  5. Wonderful post. I too quite like these trees with their large leaves and big flower clusters. Our next door neighbour has several of these trees in his yard (although they are the common type with the yellow blooms). Recently I found the case of a nut in our meadow. Perhaps the squirrels have buried a nut in the dirt? I sure hope so.

  6. No room for a Chestnut here, Brenda... will enjoy yours from afar :-)

    Wonderful unfurling to bloom photos. I love going out with the camera at this time of year too. My unfurling favs are the ferns :-)

  7. I wish I had room for a chestnut! I love the sentence,"Soon, 'Briotti' will be a sea of bloom, covered in bees, back dropped by pine, maple and spruce." It makes me wish I was there to see it in bloom.

  8. Dear Bren, I love Horse Chestnuts and their candelabra-like flowers, but never have I seen a red one. Lovely photos sharing the metamorphosis to bloom!!