30 November 2010

True colours

Dull, damp days are sometimes the best for seeing the true colour of things. Round these parts, the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a common weed tree.* There are many of them growing on our property, of all different sizes. As its Latin name suggests, it isn't a cedar at all, but a juniper. This becomes obvious when you see a young female tree like this one:

At this time of year, the red cedars turn brown and I love the contrast of the blue juniper berries with the brown needles of the tree. The larger brown growth at the bottom left of this picture is the dormant form of the cedar apple rust gall, which blossoms into sinister life during summer rains.

Since we've been in Canada, we've always bought Christmas trees, as I didn't think that the red cedars, with their brown coloration, would make good specimens for the living room centrepiece, despite having so many that we would hardly miss one. But I read an article a while ago which promised that once placed in a warm room, the trees revert to their summer green. So, this year, in another attempt at self-sufficiency, we're going to give one of these 'weeds' a chance to take the stage as our Christmas tree. We'll see if it works!

*I'm still getting used to the idea that we own enough land for it to be possible for a tree to be a weed...


Esther Montgomery said...

This picture is like a tapestry.

(Not that a tapestry would include a gall, I suppose.)

Looking forward to hearing whether the greening works.

It won't be able to beat the subtle colours in the photo though.


Eliza said...

I wish I owned enough land for weeds to be trees! We had eastern red cedars as Christmas trees several times when I was a kid -- but as I understand it, my dad would go out and steal other people's "weeds." These days we just buy one. :)

Northern Beauty Seeker said...

Lovely photo. So very November. :)

You have to post it when it changes.