Of The Lime

On Monday, I was given this ridiculously good-looking book as a birthday present. On Tuesday, I spotted a line of limes politely shielding All Saints graveyard from the impertinence of neighbours.

And so I began to turn the pages…

The book is a twenty-first century update of John Evelyn’s Sylva, a comprehensive ledger of Britain’s trees published in 1664.

Evelyn had this to say about the lime tree:

the carvers in wood use it … for the trophies, festoons, fruitages, encarpia, and other sculptures in the frontoons, friezes, capitals, pedestals, and other ornaments and decorations, of admirable invention and performance, to be seen about the choir of St Paul’s

Four words that I don’t understand, and one not even known by the Oxford English Dictionary.

The New Sylva adds the following:

Limes are among the few insect-pollinated trees in Britain and do not flower until June or July. … Planting of small-leaved lime is greatly encouraged by those seeking to increase biodiversity in woodlands. Lime seeds have no invertebrate predators, and the ripe fruits are eaten by birds, mice and voles.

One more thing…

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Lime Leaves Loves

Lime trees wrap their greenery in a metaphor. The buds, with one small and one large scale, look like mini boxing gloves, spoiling for a fight. But they unfurl with the light into perfect heart-shaped leaves for loving.

The flowers are hermaphrodite so, perhaps understandably, the lime tree is well-known to aid fertility. And, like the toughest love, lime wood doesn’t warp. It’s still used to make piano keys.

Pick the leaves for a summer salad, particularly when covered in aphid poo, which makes them all the sweeter.

One more thing…

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