My favourite plant in our garden is the old maple. (I confess, I’m a pathetic amateur in gardening.) It is beautiful any time of the year, also in the nakedness of winter. I love its crooked branches and the vertical grooves on the bark.
It is just the kind of a tree that is made for hugging. I am convinced you do not even need to touch the tree but being in its vicinity will already make you feel stronger and healthier. As science has put it so nicely, “Access to nature can significantly improve our mental capital and wellbeing”. I should put my arms around my favourite tree more often.
The maples are rather popular also among some other species residing on our lot. Throughout the winter season, the old one offers all sorts of neat holes and cavities for the great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopus major) (käpytikka) to work on the cones they carry from the old spruces surrounding two sides of the garden.
The maples are now blooming in their adorable shade of green. A few days ago when we were having our afternoon coffee in the kitchen diner, we observed a few squirrels running around in one of the younger maples a few metres away from the window. There were three of them – a family perhaps – and they were eating the buds like crazy.
I managed to fit my point-and-shoot camera between the slats of the Venetian blinds without scaring them away, although in one of the photos the squirrel appears to be looking straight at the lens. He/she has probably been in that situation with me before (here).