Saturday, April 19, 2008

Barking Up What Kind of Tree?!

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 ( 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 ( 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....


  1. Great post Tina. I didn't know the hackberry, although there were two very large ones at my parent's home in Oklahoma. I remember the berries hurt my bare feet laying on the ground. We have some here just on the property line at the top of the hill. So glad to see you love trees as much as we all should.

  2. Hi Tina --lots to do this morning. I had no idea what tree it was but really enjoyed the post. I told you this is my learning tool --your blog. Need to get going --see you all later:)

  3. We pass a tree everyday going to and from school with Smartypants, he calls it the naked white tree. It looks as if all the bark has fallen off and the wood underneath is white. I should stop and take a picture one day. It is kinda eery looking especially in the winter. I know that is the way they look because I have seen them in other places but I can't remember the name of it. Do you know? And thanks for the shout-out!

  4. Hi Frances, I never knew about hackberries either until someone said they are 'warty'. You never forget them. It is good you have some as they are great sources for wildlife food. Do you not post on the weekends? Miss you posts.

    Anonymous, I read hackberries burn real hot and last a long time but extremely hard to split. They could be substituted for steel.:) Tell hubby so he won't feel so bad for having a hard time splitting it.

    Jillybean, I think you may be speaking of the Sycamore tree. It is white over most of it and smooth and very large? Beautiful trees for winter interest.

    Hey all, I have to mention Survivor before I forget. I didn't think it could get better than when James was voted off last season, but the coup to vote off Ozzy TOOK THE CAKE! It was the best ever! Mr. Fix-it says I have to go do something-no more blogging for now!

    Good morning all! Enjoy the rain!

  5. I have never hear of the first tree but it is a beauty! I love the different barks on trees. And as with almost anything, I love something that is different.

    Trees truly are the backbone of the world and for all of you that read Daves blog, The Home Garden, his post yesterday was on just that

    Great post Tina.

  6. Hi Tina, good to know the trees are good for something besides hurting bare feet. I don't post on the weekends, to just rest, spend time with the financier and usually we go visit offspring. It leaves me free to think over the weekend of more topics for the coming week.

  7. Just wanted to hit you back, I'm a stones throw north of Indy. As far as the quake was concerned, I'm pretty sure there was never any real danger. I garden in two places. One is in the mulch/landscaping around the front steps of my apartment (although I'm house shopping right now! Looking for a house with a big sunny yard!)

    The other spot I'm responsible for is my parents' house up in Ft. Wayne. Mom doesn't have much of a green thumb, so I have discovered the art of long distance gardening. :)

  8. Hi Guys,
    I like the second tree, the first one is nice but the name is becoming to the second tree, it does resemble muscle.
    Planted the pansies in the flower boxes, well, off the flower hangers. See Jack of all trades and myself couldn't decide on what size boxes to get for the wire holders soooo, we got the mossy type replacement liners. I cut holes in the front of them and planted the pansies. Panisies are cold tolerant and will be fine. Hope to plant something IN the liners shortly. Should look nice.
    Well, Jack of all trades is finishing the last of our house. Lining the master bedroom closet with cedar. Gotta go help. Bye for now.

  9. Great blog Tina. I've seen these trees while growing up in Tn. but did not know their name. Wish now I had learned more about them back then. Have you ever eaten the nut of the Hickory tree? There was a tree in next door neighbors yard when I was a kid that I can't remember the name of but it had nuts. They were kind of flat, the leaves were small with toothed edges. It was a very large tree. Beach something or other. Maybe Beach Nut. Pic would help.

    Hi Frances , Jillybean, anonymous, Dawn. Babs, not seen you on here before. Glad to see you. Jean I've been keeping up with Dave on trees. He sure knows a lot about them.

    Got a couple of my Hostas planted even though tomorrow is a better day to do it. Signs are better. My Wide Hat is not up yet. I have Francis Williams, & Blue Mtn. The red stemmed ? is up. It's in a pot. The normal green & white aren't showing yet. The Roses that my sister-in-law sent me sure a growing like weeds. I'm surprised.

  10. Great post! Big day in yard and now off to town for a cold drink with friends. Just wanted to pop in and say hey....

  11. Hey Mom, I'll have to show you some hackberries growing in town. They are very unique and the first picture is a bit misleading since it is a closeup of only the bark. The tree bark is actually more gray but the sun made it appear tan. They are definitely different. I looked at some older posts on Sarah's blog today and she had a picture of Brunswick under snow on New Years Day. Looked like it did when I was a kid. She has a golden too so we were talking dogs.

    Frances, You have fun visiting with your family. You used to blog everyday as I seem to remember another very early bird on Christmas morning? Taking a break is good. I should take a break every now and then too as blogging definitely requires a time committment. It is very nice of you to still make the rounds. That too takes time. I think sometimes more time than blogging! :) Skeeter? Are those posts ready? I try to blog when Mr. Fix-it doesn't get annoyed. Usually when he is working which is all the time. See you on Monday have a great weekend.

    Babs, That is great you garden around the doors of your apartment building. I did that too when I lived in Germany. Had tons of marigolds and chrysanthemums which returned each year we were there. I wasn't bothered by the onlookers because all the residents appreciated my efforts. The same at your building? Ft. Wayne is a long way from Indy so that long distance gardening must be really hard!:)

    Dawn, That second tree is so cool. You all should have them in Maine? Look for them near rivers in woodlands. When you out looking for lady's slippers you may see one.

    Pansies are great and will add color. I bet that after today you might maybe relax??? Good job on the house and cedar lined closets. How lucky are you?

    Lola, I am glad I could identify the trees for you. I don't think I have ever eaten a beech nut. Are they good and easy to get from the trees? Beech trees are fairly common around here. I love the wide brim hosta! Isn't it funny how some hostas come up so much earlier than others? They so completely disappear I forget where mine are. I am looking forward to them all popping up. When your roses bloom, you should send me some info on the one you recently planted from your sister-wasn't it black-and I can put it on here for you. Roses seem to do so well in florida.

    Skeeter, Have fun with your friends. When is the boat coming out? Even more fun!

  12. I think being a recruiter sounds like a tough job. I think there was a big wave of patriotism after 9/11, but not so much anymore.

    My little brother is still riding that wave. He's graduating from West Point at the end of May. We're all very proud of him, but he also makes us a little nervous with his choice of career.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  13. Hi Tina, Jean, Lola, Dawn and Skeeter --I'm sure everyone had a busy day today. I finally finished weed trimming around the yard -hubby fixed the darn weed eater:( But, now the yard looks good --won't stay this pretty and it'll be mowing time again, hahaha. I won't complain --I like green over brown anyday.

    Tina, it is funny you mentioned how hard that tree is to split --we had some in our backyard that the tree people cut down when we first moved in --not our choice just came home one day and they were in the backyard --said they were a hazard and took them down. Well, hubby had the darndest time splitting and cutting them but you are OH SO RIGHT --they burn forever and put off alot of good heat in the winter months in the fireplace --have to use them when the fire is really going good -but they throw off some great warmth, lol. Wish I'd known about them earlier --since hubby was feeling weak and discouraged when he tried splitting them, hehehehe.
    Hope Skeeter has a great time with friends --nice way to unwind after a day in the garden.
    We took all the kiddos to PutterZ the miniature golf place earlier today --met up with my sister and her kiddos. It was alot of fun --the weather actually cooperated with us --a little drizzle but that went away quickly and the kids loved it. They even have games to play inside and you can win tokens for cheapo kid type toys --think plastic and lasts a few minutes.
    My hostas came up in the back really quick but the ones up front are just now poking thru --odd that they come out at different times and they actually seem like two different type --one is more dark green and the other a lighter green. They are pretty --
    Have a great weekend --boy number 1 has a friend that needs a ride home soon --see you all later!

  14. Hey all, back from our evening of unwinding with friends. Had one drink that lasted me all evening. I am such a cheap date! LOL...

    Worked on picking up sticks, twigs and limbs all day today as the Saint supervised the burn pit. With all the windy days lately, Mother Nature sure left me a mess. I worked on it from 9:00 until 5:00 with a few breaks and other small tasks. We had so much debris in the yard, I did not get any of the front woods! That will be tomorrows chore! We must get all the mess burn by May 1 as they ban burning until Oct. 1. Was tough on the back and I needed that drink really badly.

    Fed-X man brought the Saint his offer letter so his job is secured Tina! Yeah we are under a new contract and yet again, another company. SAIC, never heard of them until now. I think they are big in the Space program. Anyway, we are good to go so now we get to order new windows for the house and a new sofa! Yeah, if only the job offer were in TN I would really be happy…

    Tina, I have two Post ready. Just say the word…

  15. I don't know about the Beach Nuts Tina. We never ate them. I just remember them falling all the time. Looked at the rose bushes today & they are loaded with buds. Will have to take pics of them & send them to you.

    Skeeter, I hope you had a great relaxing time. It's real nice to have a friend to just go somewhere & have a cup of coffee or soda.

    Anonymous, I meant to tell you that my Granddau & the kids were at the Nashville zoo on the same day. Strange. It would have been nice if you guys had known each other & ran into each other.

    Babs, Your little brother will be fine. That's a great school he's going to.

    I hope all had a very nice day, & all the blessing in the world.

  16. Babs, Recruiting is SO tough! But tonight was rewarding. We went to an Army sponsored concert featuring Micheal Petersen and Telluride and two super magicians. Everyone had fun and got to see their students enlist plus a reenlistment by a general. It was such a nice night. Micheal Petersen is singer, but he also wrote 3 Wooden Crosses by the Side of the Hwy sung by Randy Travis. Great song. Do you know it? Anyone else?

    Many congratulations to your brother! Understandably there is concern, but so much pride in his work. You must trust good things.

    Anonymous, Do tell hubby it was not his fault about the tree. It is very hard and I found people who lost these trees (because they DO snap) were shocked since they are so hard. Glad you had fun today. It rained all day here. All day! Yuck. Maybe the hostas are different varieties and you will be pleasantly surprised by the variation. Or maybe it is the amount of sun they receive. Glad the yard is looking good. The rain has made everything so green (and growing too fast!)

    Skeeter, CONGRATULATIONS ON THE SAINT'S JOB SECURITY! I know that is a relief. Please let us know about the couch and windows you purchase. Anonymous just purchased a new couch and sooner or later I want new windows. Hard to research so you let me know what you find out then it is easier for me! ok?

    Sticks are a pain. I was in a nice, really nice nursery today. I saw a J. Maple with a cultivar name of Skeeter. Can you believe it?


    Lola, No blooms yet on the roses Lola? Yes, do send pictures. Didn't you get a black rose? I like roses but don't grow too many. I like them mostly in other people's yards. They need SO much sun.

    Mom, Forgot to tell you but my one instructor in school says rugosas grow down here. I have never seen them in the landscape though.

    Nina, Is your mountain ash blooming? Looking ok? The PX has the coolest plants. I just got a buckthorn and had never heard of it but am ever so overjoyed about it. Geri went and got one too from there.

    Christine, I just want to say hello. I guess you will come on later-out of town this weekend?

  17. Good Morning Tina, We were at the PX Friday and I also purchased a buckthorn and a mt airey fothergilla, I am not familiar with either of these. I also added another butterfly bush in deep purple. They had some unusual plants and at a good price! The mountain ash is trying to leaf out. The new one I planted is really looking good! Yesterday I started reworking the soil around the older one, will fertilize it and put fresh mulch around it.

    The frost nipped my rain tree and also the crape myrtles that were beginning to bud.

    Have another full day. I slept in this a.m. the coffee is ready so will get a cup and get started!

    Everyone have a great day!

  18. Hi Guys,
    Glad everyone is having such a busy weekend. I can finally open my doors, funny my coon cat LOVES it. He isn't allowed outside but napped on the deck yesterday, came when I called him. No chance he'll get a bird. Not that agile. Too big!
    Stripping and oak staining the rest of my commode today, started it awhile back but the bead board got alittle time consuming and the winter snuck up. Looking forward to it today. Jack of all trades will be doing the dvd rack, we are seening the END!
    Have a great day all.

  19. Good morning all!

    Nina, You will be one of the coolest gardeners around with that buckthorn in your garden. I had never heard of it but this particular cultivar is a good one which does not get weedy and stays narrow. I think they would go great in a perennial garden but I put mine in a woodland type garden next to my shed door. I can't wait to see how it does as it grows slow. It is so cool.

    I have a Mt Airy Fothergilla I purchased last fall. It is so lovely and blooming nicely. This cultivar is supposed to stay a bit smaller than others. Doesn't it smell nice?

    I hope your mountain ashes hang in there and bloom wonderfully this year. They are really pretty.

    My crepes also got bit! I didn't even realize it until this week. urrrrr! They should recover but I see a few that may need to be cut to the base from last year's problems and maybe a bit from this year. There may be internal problems with the stems from all the damage but crepes will regrow from the roots.

    Dawn, Sounds like it is warming up there finally. Snow nearly gone?

    What are you staining? A cabinet for your bathroom? You are so busy with that house you and Skeeter should get together with all of your energy for the house! Send some my way as I have a few projects that need to get done too. End is definitely in sight! After how many years?

  20. Hi Tina --my crepe myrtles are finally getting green on them and some small budding on a few. I was almost sure they were dead from all the torture they had last year with the freeze and drought. I am so happy the one in the front is getting leaves first:) HUGE sigh of relief I don't know what I would've put there if that crepe didn't make it.
    Hi Lola --it would've been neat to see the boys and your granddaughter at the zoo. That particular day was filled with every child under 48 inches for miles --hahahah. Bus upon bus came with all these little midget kiddos for the zoo trip. I had to hang onto my two so I wouldn't lose them in the crowds of small people. So cool that she was there the same day as us:)

  21. Hi Tina, you are right about me posting every day in the beginning. I had just started the blog on December 7 and was so jazzed about being able to use five year's worth of garden photos in little stories without someone yawning in the middle of it. Or if they did yawn, I couldn't see it. I remember you commenting at Christmas. Once again we were in a hotel on Christmas due to visiting the family at different locales. Being an early riser on the hotel computer was not ideal, but I do remember your friendly words, thanks. I will be posting tomorrow with a link to your blog, if you don't mind. Your question gave me a good starting point to tell a story.

  22. Anonymous, Crepes are so hardy but they did suffer stress last year. Major stress. Yours is beautiful and I am glad it is leafing out finally. They seem to be a bit late this year.

    Frances, Yes! I do remember your Christmas post. I was quite shocked someone else was posting and you said you prepare the posts ahead of time. Five years of garden pics! Wow! That is alot. Any tips on keeping them organized where you can find them? Right now I just file them by month but that is not ideal as I can sometimes have alot of pics. This is the problem for me uploading all those pics I lost on the switch from the old server. Sigh.

    Looking forward to the story tomorrow. You have such a pretty blog and tell the nicest stories. Will check in the morning! You have a young blog too! I started mine the last week of September. Dec 7th is Pearl Harbor day. I hope you tell why you started blogging. It is interesting to hear folk's stories on it and I had no idea about blogging myself until the paper asked for volunteers so I wonder how others figure it out? I have learned SO much from you blog like-I WANT an edgeworthia, I need two viburnums and what that yellow flower was! Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. I've got a bit left behind with my reading - so I've only just arrived here!

    I've never heard of a Hackberry Tree before.

    In the photo, the bark looks more like a wall than a living thing!

    As an aside, I visited a 'fossil forest' last year - a great row of fossilised, prehistoric tree stumps.

    The landscape (which is usually quite lush in Dorset) was all stony and white and grey (like your Hackberry - only real stone).

    We sat on a huge, wide, stone stump - and gazed out to sea.

    It was awe inspiring!


    P.S. - By the way, I now have a link for a CONTENTS PAGE FOR ESTHER IN THE GARDEN - so new readers (and people who have missed days) can 'catch up.