‘The blood-red brilliance, mystery and melancholy of the hawthorn’

7 thoughts on “‘The blood-red brilliance, mystery and melancholy of the hawthorn’”

  1. That’s lovely. My chilhood home (one of them anyway, and certainly the home I think of when I think of that era) was called Hawthorn Cottage. The far bank of the brook held many a hawthorn tree, and it is to those brookside specimens my mind always turns when these fantastic trees are mentioned.

  2. This year, sloes and blackberries were scarce, so I made a spiced hawthorn apple jelly. It is light, clear and beautifully balanced between tart and sweet. There are so many berries on the hawthorns in cornwall, I know the birds won’t miss a few.

  3. Gerry, this was lovely–and it suited my mood perfectly, as I’m currently reading Macfarlane’s Wild Places, and am yearning for more bits of wildness and mystery and even melancholy….

    1. Thanks, Sue, Vicki and Linesoflandscape: what I really wanted was to spread the word about Paul Evans. There’s plenty about the hawthorn on the web: the RSPB has a page on its value for garden birds (http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/wildlifegarden/atoz/h/hawthorn.aspx), the Woodland Trust has some info (http://www.british-trees.com/treeguide/hawthorns/nbnsys0000003430), and a lot of the legend surrounding hawthorn is brought together on this page: http://www.paghat.com/hawthornmyths.html.

  4. As a child, Hawthorn bushes filled the lane behind our home in Sussex. We climbed into the gaps of the hedge and got covered in scratches that stung later in the bath. But some how it was part of summer to be torn by its thorns. Nests were abundant, and I will never forget the wonder of peering into the beautiful molded interior of a Song Thrushes nest, utterly secure in the thickest parts.
    We often bring Hawthorn into the house now, though the blossom drops quickly. Three years ago we took two cuttings, one pink , one white,from a lane near home and now they both stand two feet high in the back garden!!
    Wonderful writing, thanks for sharing this, Andy.

    1. Cheers, Andy. Your childhood recollections stirred a memory of mine, too. Growing up in the Cheshire countryside, I recall that the hawthorn was known as ‘bread and cheese’. Before I wrote this reply I wondered why, and googled the question. Here’s the answer: ‘The Hawthorn bush used to be called ‘the bread and cheese tree’ because the buds and leaves can be eaten straight from the tree, as they have often been in times of famine, or used in salads or sandwiches, to add variety in better times.’ (http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2008/08/tea-bread-cheese_18.html)

  5. Very interesting read! Thanks so much for sharing. In Asia, especially China, the hawthorn fruit is a delicious food. And when people think of it, they never thought about other things but its sweet and acidic taste. Growing up eating hawthorn fruits each fall and winter, I’ve never seen a hawthorn tree until I read this post. It’s always wonderful and eye-opening to read how people think of particular plants and animals in different parts of the world. :)

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