Friday, December 26, 2008

A NEW WORD IN MY BACKYARD


Recently, one of the word-a-day emails I subscribe to featured the word, "pollard." As a birdwatcher, the root word "poll" meaning "head" was already familiar to me because of Blackpoll Warblers and Redpolls. Also, when I lived out west, I knew of a ranch that advertised "polled Herefords." Any horned animals that have had their horns removed (cattle, goats,sheep, etc.) are known as pollards. Though I'd never I'd never heard the term applied to trees until the email arrived, I recognized at once that I had a pollard in my back yard, and had even blogged about it earlier this year.

A pollard tree is one whose top branches have been cut back to the trunk so that it may produce a dense growth of new shoots. As an art history major, I was reminded of a favorite Van Gogh painting, "View of Arles (Orchard in Bloom with Poplars in Forefront)" The polled poplar trees in Vincent's painting kind of resembles my tree, although mine (I think it's an ash) isn't quite as gnarled. Now that winter is here, the birds seem to be enjoying having a few extra places to perch, even if they don't care a fig about western cattle or Post-Impressionist paintings. And I will be delighted to watch my pollard leaf-out again in the spring.





Photo at www.artyfactory.com

10 comments:

edward said...

i like the van gogh. and the word pollard. i could make a pollard, right? with some cutting instrument and the right tree.


i like beltie as a descriptor too (beltie cows) I saw a beltie pig on a tv show, and a real life beltie cat in real life once.

i am a tuxie.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

That's neat Deborah---to have your own 'pollard' tree in your yard!!!! How Special is That!!!!! The birds all love it though. I'd love to see it in the spring --to see what it looks like then.
Hugs,
Betsy

Sylvia K said...

Love the Van Gogh! and I always learn something interesting, fun or beautiful on your posts. You've been a great teacher. I want to see what the tree looks like come spring, too. Stay warm!

Lin said...

wow I learned something new...thanks, interesting photo and art piece.

hitch writer said...

Interesting indeed !! your lucky to have that tree, and the life that it breeds !!

Kallen305 said...

What a cool tree!! I have never heard of that type of tree so it's a treat to see one.

bobbie said...

Interesting! Never knew that kind of tree had a special name. The birds do seem to appreciate it.

sue said...

Thank you. Decades ago, I knew that word, but lost it. In San Francisco, in Golden Gate Park, there is an open area between the museums, with an ampitheatre where concerts are performed, and all the trees are pollard. It was an amazing sight especially in winter.

Raven said...

I'll have to sign on for that word a day thing. What a great idea. Pollard is new to me so thanks for the new vocabulary word. Glad your birds have found a place to snuggle.

Kathiesbirds said...

I knew about polled cattle but none of the other stuff, including Van Gogh's painting, which is gorgeous! Hooray for the birds though.