Last year I snapped a random photo of a random plant, like so many random plant photos I take all the time. I was looking through my photos to find another plant to draw in my sketchbook and found this:
Not knowing what it was, or even recalling the photo, I had no idea of the scale and would have liked to find the plant again so that when someone looked at my drawing and said “my, what lovely oranges”, I could shoot back and say “noooo, those are the berries of the blah-blah tree” (duh.) But what to do? I couldn’t find the tree/bush/shrub anywhere. I queried basic terms like “yellow berries”, “Oregon”, every combination I could think of. Nothing looked like the photo above. Finally flummoxed, I found my old tattered Sunset Magazine Western Garden book, and looked under “Colorful Fruits and Berries” and low and behold we have a sorbus aucuparia or a Rowan Tree. I was unable to locate the tree on line because my Rowan photo was basically of unripened fruit! This is how a fully “fruitioned” Rowan tree looks in late August when the birds are feasting on the fruit:
Well, being a former dabbler in all things “woo woo”, I knew I had picked one special tree as an artistic undertaking. I read about all its magical uses, lore, and legend and I find I am totally enchanted by this tree!
I set about trying to find the tree that I snapped last July. (The date stamp on the photo was my only clue.) For days I looked, ceasing all drawing until I could find it. And three days ago, I found three fruiting Rowan trees at the top of my street. I hadn’t walked up there in some time since being diagnosed with anemia (hills being difficult for me), but we were driving by and I just turned my head to look out the window, and there they were.
So, with kind permission of the trees (you’re supposed to ask them if it’s okay to pick, NEVER use a knife and be sure to say thank you), I took a few leaves and berries for my composition.
Some berries have been sketched in the book, but I am finding they are still very yellow, so I decided my drawing is of the Rowan in mid-July. Said drawing will be appearing in some emerging state in a couple of days.
And by the way, since finding the three trees up the street, I must have seen twenty more in various places in the area. I cannot wait until May to see them flower!