I’m sat under the Gingko Biloba tree in Hergest Croft gardens. I had an urge to be with this tree and sketch its leaf today. The busy week is floating away as I breathe in the smell of Autumn. The sun is shining and the wind has picked up the rustling leaves in the trees. It’s now lifting my page as I write my blog outside.
I picked up a Gingko leaf from the ground, and the deep saffron yellow makes the tree an Autumn spectacle for all to see. If you turn the leaf over, it has lines running from the stem out to the edge of the leaf, etched like fossils on a stone. You are looking at a leaf which spans back 270 million years to the Paleozoic Era, and the Gingko is a Gymnosperm (seed without an outer capsule) and they were part of the first forests which appeared at this time. The oldest living trees today can be found in China where they grow next to old temples, with some believed to be 1,500 years old. The Gingko’s long lifespan may be due to its ability to be resistant to pests and diseases. They are the symbol of endurance and vitality. Just sitting under the tree is inspiring. It was Planted in 1901 and today is 116 years old. It’s seen a lot already.
As I sat and thought about this incredible tree, I sketched the leaf I was studying. The edge of the leaf was starting to brown. I also found the wooden part of the stem, by which the leaf is attached to the branch it sits on. I sketched this too and coloured it with my watercolours. See below… I etched the outline with waterproof ink once the paint had dried. I also wrote along the edge of the leaf.
I’ve been inspired today and I’ve enjoyed my connection with this incredible tree and its ancient history. There are other Gingko trees in Hergest Croft, I will be drawing under them again, I’m sure of that.
If you have not been creative recently, grab your sketch pad and art materials and head out to capture the different shaped leaves and those gorgeous Autumn colours. Head out and connect with your local trees at this vibrant time of year.