Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Scots Pine in a distance in St Leonards - Jude Montague

Scots Pine at a distance in St Leonards – Jude Montague

A meander with the Scots Pine

Jude Montague draws and reflects upon this shapely tree.

I’ve been particularly fascinated by the shape of the Scots Pine for years before I knew what it was. Growing up closely with my granddad whose style and visual choices were formed in the 1920s, I noticed this shape appearing on many designs of the period. Its shape is unique. Although the needles are, of course, spiky and uncomfortable to the touch, from a distance, clustered around the tree branches it gives the impression of a softness. The tree makes a distinct silhouette on the horizon.

I was delighted when I came to Hastings to see that there were some specimen trees of Scots Pine in gardens which appeared on the ridges and edges. Sometimes I see them silhouetted against the sunset. I’m reminded of some favourite pieces of tree art by the painter Paul Nash.

The Scots Pine, says The Woodland Trust, is our only native pine. In ancient times clusters of pines along old tracks where animals would be driven across the land helped travellers find their way.

The pine cones have a magical-seeming property. They open when it’s warm and dry to help with the wind dispersal of seeds, and close when it’s wet.

Pine cones - closed and open - illustration by Jude Montague

Pine cones – closed and open – illustration by Jude Montague

The other two native conifers are the yew and the juniper, but the Scots Pine is evocative of an era that means so much to me because I associate it with my grandparents’ objects and pictures in their charming house in Manchester that I found so compelling as a child.

You can find another illustrated article from walks around Hastings here: The Chalybeate Spring.


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Posted 17:24 Friday, Mar 1, 2024 In: Nature

Also in: Nature

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