What in the world could this picture be featuring? It kind of looks like the surface of a far away planet doesn't it? What could it be? Does Esther in the Garden (http://www.estherinthegarden.blogspot.com/) recognize the "thing" in this picture?
Any guesses? Could the next picture on here give my readers a hint? Or perhaps the title of the post gives the answer away? It is bark of course! Bark of what?
Well, the bark of a tree of course! What type of tree?
As you may have guessed from the post title, this post is about tree bark. Trees are a big deal for me. They are the backbone of the garden. Even if they weren't an asset to the garden, the very fact they provide shade is vitally important to me. I love shade, hence, I love trees. Living in a country like Iraq for a short period of time where they had practically no trees, plus experiencing such a hot summer as we had last year may have made me love shade a whole lot more. I know I sure appreciate shade and the trees that provide it.
Are you still curious as to what type of bark this is? Tennessee bloggers-you don't count! You can't guess. That would be too easy. Still, ponder it.
What kind of tree could this second picture be? Anyone ever heard of Musclewood before? Also known as American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). This tree has smooth bark over a ridged trunk. I am not sure why the trunk is ridged, but the ridging gives the tree trunk the appearance of a muscular arm or leg. Look closely at the large tree in the foreground and do you note the 'bulge' of the 'tendons' just slightly off center of the tree trunk? The sun is playing up its' features nicely and you should be able to see what I am talking about. The bark is very smooth so the ridges are obvious and truly do look like muscles. Neat looking tree.
How about some hickory chips with your next barbecue? Does Jillybean at Post-it Place (http://post-itplace.blogspot.com/) like hickory chips in her specially prepared barbecue sauce? And just where do all those hickory chips come from that we use to flavor our food? Why hickory trees of course! I must mention, Jillybean is running a contest and she gives away nice gifts. I was the recipient of one and so I can firmly say I can vouch for Jillybean' authenticity. You all make sure to visit her (garden bloggers welcomed!) and leave a comment so you can be in the running for the contest.
Shagbark hickories (Carya ovata) provide the source of most of the hickory chips we use when barbecuing outside. The third picture shows the bark of a Shagbark hickory. Can you guess why it is called Shagbark? Maybe it wants to shag like Austin Powers? Or maybe it wants to shag with you? You know, just dance a little jig late at night when only the gnomes can witness the spectacle.
Are you still concentrating on that first picture? Concentrating hard on the type of tree that bark covers? What can it be with all that neat texture? A petrified tree with fossils? Can you see the striations on the bark? Maybe they are claw marks or fossilized imprints of something. I don't know what.
I had to snap a picture of the sign marking this last tree I am going to feature. It is a Shellbark Hickory (Carya laciniosa). The name sounds a lot like Shagbark Hickory, AND the tree looks remarkably like the Shagbark Hickory. In fact, it is also sometimes called a Shagbark Hickory. Honestly, I don't know how you would tell the two apart. I had never heard of a Shellbark hickory and so I was interested in this tree. I had to look it up to find out a bit more about it. It's hickory nut is actually the largest of all hickory nuts and is very sweet. The nut is often harvested by wildlife and humans.
Okay, time's up! What is the tree featured in the first picture? If you guessed Hackberry Tree (Celtis occidentalis), you are correct! It is not a picture of another planet, nor is it a picture of a fossilized tree. Nothing so exotic. Hackberries are a common tree growing here in Tennessee. I think its' bark is SO neat and distinctive. While I don't have any hackberries growing in my garden, I have noticed these trees around town and find them to be strong beautiful trees. Anonymous has a few in her garden; which were cut down by the city. I hear the wood makes great fires for warming the house.
All four of these trees are native trees commonly found in Tennessee. These trees were spotted at Cross Creeks Wildlife Refuge near Dover, Tennessee. All were growing next to the Cumberland River in an area known as bottomlands. These bottomlands were flooded recently, but the trees suffered no damage. They were all so cool! More on the Cross Creeks Refuge in another post will be forthcoming.
in the garden....