Monday, 14 January 2013

Horse Chestnuts in Bloom

I had a little comment conversation with Joan at My Quality Day about chestnut and horse chestnut trees. So I thought I'd display these gorgeous specimens in Poole Park. I was lucky enough to catch them in full bloom in May a couple of years ago. Must remember to visit again this year at the right time.

I've discovered a few facts about these trees in the UK, that you might find interesting. Like me, the Victorians loved to visit the flowering horse chestnuts and, around the start of the 20th century, Chestnut Sundays were introduced, when large groups of people would take their picnics to the park and take in the vistas of trees in the flowering season.

Horse chestnuts, of course, produce conkers, beloved of 10 year old and thereabouts boys and tomboys. The small Northamptonshire village of Ashton hosts the World Conker Championships on the second Sunday  of October each year. The first recorded game of conkers was on the Isle of Wight in 1848, year of revolutions in Europe. A possible reason for the name of the tree is that conkers can be medicinal for horses

Anyway I hope our horse chestnuts will remain blight free so that we can continue to enjoy them adorned with their candle like flowers each year when May comes around.


aw said...

Lovely pictures, Jean, and fascinating facts. I'd never heard of the Chestnut Picnics before. Locally many of the trees have become blighted but we are not deprived of this lovely sight as the blight does not start to appear on the leaves until after the flowers are over. Last year I tried to take regular photos of one tree to see when exactly it began to show but as ever I missed the right moment.

Sharkbytes said...

The horsechestnut blossoms are so spectacular.

Jean Knill said...

Ann - I was really lucky to be in the right place at the right time for this shot.

Joan - spectacular indeed. And there will be lots of shiny brown conkers later in the year.

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