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Mike's Blog - Day 240

Field maple today, Acer campestre, our only native maple. “Campestre” refers to rural, open fields, un-cultivated land, the typical habitat where you would find these lovely trees. Perhaps it's where the term camping is derived.

It is easily identified by its softly rounded leaf tips and a lovely butter yellow colour in the autumn.

They have a distinctive soft corky bark. Field maple are often common in hedgerows too. It’s a small slow-growing tree and the timber is highly valued for fine woodworking including for musical instruments. When Catherine Middleton and Prince William got married in Westminster Abbey, six 20ft Field maples trees were placed in the abbey to represent reserve and humility.

There were also two hornbeams, Carpinus betulus, another native tree. They are said to be one of the hardest European timbers, so these represented resilience. Hornbeam wood was traditionally used to make ox yokes which would hold ploughing oxen together. The wood was also used for other tough situations, butchers blocks, piano hammers, wood screws, coach wheels and cogs in windmills.

We have a small stand of Hornbeam down the bottom of the garden. You can see them in the picture of the Tokyo cherry I sent out in Day 10.

Between these two native trees, then they represent values that we all need, especially now.