Six on Saturday – Basking in Bark!

With Autumn well and truly over, deciduous trees are almost leafless and the eyes are now drawn to a plethora of fascinating bark. Many trees sit through winter looking distinctly lifeless, but others continue to shine, providing interest in our parks and gardens during the darkest months. These six caught my attention today, both at home and out walking.

With its textured and multi-coloured bark, this fabulous birch is growing in Walsall Arboretum and very hard to ignore! I’ve no idea of the variety, if anyone can help, please do.

A verdant snake bark maple, overlooking Hatherton Lake and the Bandstand in the Arboretum. This small tree has everything – from the beautiful ever changing colour of its delicate foliage through spring, summer and autumn to the snaky striations in its green bark all year round.

Plane trees shed bark in patches which results in its peculiar appearance. This tree tolerates atmospheric pollution and is said to have a unique filter in the bark. Apparently it doesn’t absorb pollution but particles stick to the bark which the tree then cleanses itself of by shedding. Interesting!

The Tibetan cherry, Prunus serrula is one of my favourite trees and I planted this one in our garden as a young sapling about fifteen years ago. It’s quite slow growing and will reach a height of 8 metres in 20 years. The flowers in spring are nothing to write home about, but the mahogany coloured peeling bark is just stunning all year round.

Another acer, this one ‘Sango Kaku’ is beautiful all year round. The newer red stems are vibrant in their own right but a few twinkling lights draped though its branches give the tree an extra dimension in the winter garden.

Planted with evergreen shrubs, the pure white of Betula ‘Snow Queen’ is a stunner. This is a relatively small birch, with an 8×3 metre height and spread in 20 years.

That’s my six for this week – for more, please visit the home of SoS at

10 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Basking in Bark!

  1. Ann Mackay says:

    The birch may be Betula utilis jacquemontii (Himalayan birch). We have one in our garden, which looks very similar to your photo. I love the Tibetan cherry – the peeling bark is a real eye-catcher! 🙂


  2. Jim Stephens says:

    That first birch looks like it’s been put together from half a dozen species, a bit of ermanii, some septentrionalis, a dash of utilis. Extraordinary. I love a tree with nice bark yet in my own garden I have none, nearest I get is bamboo.


  3. Lora Hughes says:

    The first photo is fascinating, like a tree bark layer cake. The Tibetan cherry is always my favourite, but that acer is really something as well. Lovely Six. Wouldn’t mind having a garden w/all of those in it.


  4. Cathy says:

    Perhaps worth asking someone who works in the arboretum the name of the birch? It is quite extraordinary, whatever it is! Lovely pictures reminding us to get up close and enjoy bark.


    • Phao Hewitson says:

      Hi Cathy, Ann Mackay has identified it as Himalayan birch – she’s lucky to have one in her garden, however there are other trees I haven’t identified so asking the gardening team’s a great idea


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