Wednesday, 9 February 2011

the Tame Wood

Orkney isn't exactly known for its woodlands but dotted around the county are small fragments of ancient scrub woodland and also what Tim has titled the 'tame wood' (as oppposed to the 'wild wood').  These vary considerably and each have their own character.  My particular favourites include Happy Valley in Orphir and a real hidden gem is Olav's wood in South Ronaldsay.  These places might not be for woodland purists - they have a really eclectic collection of species with everything from native willows to Monkey Puzzle.  However, I find them magical places, they have a real sense of eccentricity and Olav's wood in particular is a magnet for migrant birds, eagerly looking for shelter.

The Tame Wood plates in our book were particularly enjoyable to paint.  The habitat plate is taken from Binscarth Wood in Finstown - shown during late wiinter and very early spring with the large Sycamores and Wych Elms covered in moss. In the foreground are Lesser Celandines while across the burn are Snowdrops and Wood Anenomes.

There are two species plates for the 'Tame Wood' portraying 12 species in total.

Anne's plate features Binscarth's Wood Anenome in the top left, False Salmonberry in Trumland top right, Pink Purslane and Daffodil in Balfour Woods bottom left, Few-flowered Garlic in Binscarth bottom right and in the middle Ground Elder also in Binscarth.

Anne's other 'tame wood' plate depicts  Lesser Celandine, Bluebell, Snowdrop, Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, Ground Ivy and Polypody


  1. Great project and good luck to both of you. Can you tell me why you have called it "False Salmonberry"? Is it not Rubus spectabilis, just Salmonberry? If not, what is the scientific name?

  2. Thank you for your good wishes Andy - they're much appreciated. We are about a third the way there hopefully.

    False Salmonberry or Salmonberry - they both refer to Rubus spectabilis. The name False Salmonberry is not as widely used as Salmonberry and it is quite likely we'll change it. I think False Salmonberry is used a little more often in North America and is also the name used by Blamey, Fitter and Fitter in "The Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland." Salmonberry is the name used by the Atlas and by Francis Rose.

  3. Yes, great project - do continue!

    And thanks for the comments on Olav's Wood and your appreciation of it - it is indeed a magical place. I was about to ask the same question as Andy (what is Salmonberry if your picture is False Salmonberry?).

    There is a website I've been developing about Olav's Wood. I've just added some pictures of the woodland in the snows this winter - where there were magical effects... The website is at

    (If there is anything you would like to contribute to the website, please let me know),

    Best wishes, David

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