Friday, 1 April 2011

A is for Ash - that's what A is for ...

A u
Fraxinus Ornus – specimens

Ash that giver of life .. a member of the Olive family, leafing during April, shedding them in October.  Ash seeds feed small mammals and birds, while the leaf mould hides insects and enriches the soil.

The flower seeds ripen into bunches of pale yellow-brown keys .. so-called because they look like the keys used in Medieval locks.

The timber is both tough and supple, resisting shock without splintering. 

Uses: – tool and implement handles, oars, skis, shafts for carts, and for furniture, e.g.:the Windsor chair.    

Morgan Aero 2-Seater Sports 1926
In more recent times in the structural members of the bodies of cars: The Morgan Motor Company still manufacture sports cars with frames made from Ash.  It is also often used as a material for electric guitar bodies ... woodworkers generally like the timber for its great finishing qualities.

Green wood burns sweetly .. as Walter de la Mare once wrote:

Of all the trees in England
Her sweet three corners in,
Only the Ash, the bonnie Ash,
Burns fierce while it is green.

That is Ash .. A for Ash Tree a native of this bonnie land ...

Part of the ABC April 2011 A - Z Challenge - Aspects of the British Countryside

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


  1. Hilary, a wonderful start for the contest! Very informative and fun to read! Looking forward to your next one. Julie

  2. W good start to the challenge, makes one feel proud to be British.
    Good luck for the next 25 posts.


  3. What a wonderful post. I love the infor,ation you've given. I used to love watching 'Tales from the Green Valley' and they mentioned about different wood's suitability for different things, but I forgot which ones were which. Thanks for the reminder. :O)

  4. Oh, I just love trees! I didn't know anything about Ash trees, so thanks!

    (Of course, I'm also wondering if it would grow here in NC, and where I could plant one in our tiny back yard....)

  5. @ Julie .. many thanks - such a pleasure to see you here. It's fun isn't it - mind you very early days yet!

    @Yvonne .. excellent - being British has its moments and we've done lots .. that's why we're speaking ze English language! Thanks for the next 25 ..

    @ Madeleine .. I missed that series - must have been in the 80s when I was in SA. I probably should do more .. Basla is interesting, but it comes from Brazil! Glad you enjoyed it!

    @ Words Crafter .. yes they do grow in the States - if you Wiki it .. you'll get basic info .. I'm sure you could get one to grow in a pot for a few years and then give it away as a prezzie to someone with a larger garden? An idea!

    Cheers to you all - Hilary

  6. Appropriately it's control A to make the screen go white and the writing blue :O)

  7. Hilary,
    That's a very educational post. I didn't know all those facts. It's amazing what I've learned in a year of blogging. Not counting all the wonderful blogging friends I have met, like you, Hilary.

    Thanks for your sweet comment this morning.

    Have a great day! (Remember is April out!)

  8. Oh I love this. I love trees. Thank you.


  9. Fascinating post! We're surrounded by trees where I live and sometimes you can take them for granted.

    Ellie Garratt

  10. This is such beautiful imagery as well as some great information. Thanks for the great opening day post ^_^

  11. Wonderful! My knowledge of trees (and flowers) is sadly lacking.

  12. @ Madeleine .. many thanks for the Ctrl A details ..

    @ Doris .. glad you enjoyed it .. and isn't it just wonderful meeting so many like-minded blogging friends ..

    Loved your very short story - it was a sad story about Alzheimer's

    I know April Fool .. so far haven't ventured out - but that's about to change! Cheers ... Hilary

    @ Denise .. thanks

    @ Ellie .. I am not sure I'd know the tree names now - I keep saying to myself - get out and learn!

    @ Loralie .. good to meet you - glad you came over .. it's just so interesting what we're all coming up with based on the letter A

    Thanks lovely seeing you here .. Hilary

  13. I didn’t know they use ash for cars – cool. Ash is a beautiful tree too.

  14. Great post, Hilary. Look forward to more of your A-Z topics. Good luck with the challenge!

  15. @ Laura .. - thank you, I struggle with names of plants and trees .. must improve methinks!

    @ Holly - it's surprising what is used for what .. it's springy/flexible - so helps the suspension .. and as you say is a beautiful spreading landscape tree ..

    @ Thanks Paula .. you too ..

    Have fun everyone .. Hilary

  16. Wonderful post, Ms. Hilary! And I love the literary connection. This challenge is going to be a lot of fun.

  17. Nice A to Z Challenge kick-off post, Hilary!

    As someone with a carpentry and woodworking/cabinet-maker background, I also cherish the Ash tree for its splendid, creamy, nice to work and finish wood. The grain is (when quartersawn) fine and straight, just good quality furniture material.

    Marvin D Wilson

  18. Great way to kick off A!

    I love ash. We used to have a Mountain Ash in our front garden.

  19. @ Marvin .. great to see you & thanks ..

    I knew I was waiting for Carpenter to arrive! I would love to be more knowledgeable about these things - I love polished wood ... really interesting additions to my post - many thanks for this comment.

    @ Talli .. surprisingly Mountain Ash is a different species .. but they too are beautiful .. beautiful berries ..

    Great seeing you both .. cheers Hilary

  20. I had no idea that ash was a member of the Olive family!

  21. A fun fact-filled post -- great start to the A-Z Blogfest!

    Thanks for the follow :))

  22. There are some beautiful Mountain Ash trees in our area (central BC), but they aren't anywhere near ready to bloom. Dang.

  23. Thanks for this interesting post!

  24. Interesting information. Good start!
    Thanks for commenting on my blog!


  25. Wonderful post. I found it very educational. Can't wait to see what else you have in store.


  26. It's amazing how many different topics people are using for this challenge. Good luck with it!

  27. A very interesting look at a tree I knew little about but the name. I always say we learn something everyday. I shall look forward to the rest of the series.

  28. I think we take the Ash tree for granted. It's so useful. Love the poem.

  29. Thanks for the information! I hadn't known much at all about this sort of tree before.

  30. @ Jessica .. good to see you - thanks.

    @Mama Zen - ah! you picked that fact up .. got a nature lover here I see .. thanks.

    @ Nicole - thanks glad you enjoyed it ..

    @ Joylene .. Mountain Ash - surprisingly as I said to another Canadian, Talli, they're different species .. but I agree they are wonderful trees too ..

    @ Bossy Betty - good to see you here

    @ Monti - good to meet you and great you came over ..

    @ Misha .. many thanks glad you picked up odds and ends of interest!

    @ Angela .. thanks .. so far something different .. don't know about the other 100s though!!

    @ Sandra .. isn't it - fascinating challenge .. thanks for coming by ..

    @ Linda .. thanks so much .. just little snippets for the brain add to our knowledge

    Cheers everyone - have fun! Hilary

  31. @ Golden Eagle .. glad you enjoyed it .. the Ash is a wonderful native tree in England ..

    @ Clarissa .. thanks I do too - mind you we take nature for granted .. and it does have it uses. We've lost our ability to care for life ..

    De La Mare said it right - didn't he .. I too felt I had to put the verse in ..

    Cheers Gold Eagle and Clarissa - good to see you both .. Hilary

  32. Ash is indeed a lovely hardwood and ohmygoodness, look at that car. That was the year my Mum was born!

  33. Hi Marie Anne .. good to meet you here .. I know that car was just too good not to post .. my Mama is a little older ... thanks - Hilary

  34. We have a whole row of Ash trees near where I saw the fox. Oh this is a great start on your writing adventure...looking forward to the next round

  35. Things I didn't know about ash trees. I'm going to be full of knowledge by the end of this!

  36. Hilary, dear friend. This is so beautiful I just copied it into a word document so I can read it again, later, and again, and again. Your posts are awesome, and this is the best alphabet one I've read so far. I don't know if anything will top it.

  37. Hilary - Fun car and I love Ash trees. =D

  38. I learned something new right in the first line: I hadn't been aware the ash was a member of the olive family.

  39. Hello Hilary

    Thank you so much for your kind comments and encouragement for the A-Z challenge. It's great to make your acquaintance.

    Sounds like we share the same love of nature too.

    I live in a wonderful part of South Shropshire and my neighbour has a saying - Oak before Ash, in for a splash. Ash before oak, in for a soak.
    So we shall see which trees leaf first to tell us how wet a summer we have!

    look forward to following your blogs and writing

    warm wishes

  40. Hey, I've never been more proud to have that Ash tree out front. :) So glad they made it to America---especially in the fall when it turns rich red. Love your theme for the challenge.

  41. Thanks for sharing about the Ash tree, Hilary. Great post!

  42. In keeping with the A-Z theme, Hilary, let me just say ... AWESOME post :)

  43. Fantastic post! Who knew I'd actually learn on this challenge:)

  44. What a great topic! I knew your posts would be interesting. Looking forward to the rest of the Challenge. :)
    Have a great weekend,

  45. I had no idea that Morgan car frames were made from ash wood. That is amazing! Great post Hilary...

  46. Hilary it was great having you stop by my blog...I am returning the favor and enjoying my time here. You have one more tag-a-long now.

  47. I knew that ash was popular for guitat bodies, now I know why. It seems that it would be good for boats as well.

  48. Very interesting post. Great start to the challenge.

    My A to Z

  49. Just stopping by to say hi to a fellow a-z participant! :)

  50. Hi Hilary, I always learn something when I visit you ;-D Nicely Done~

  51. Hilary,
    Guess what?
    I ordered Dr Stokes' book today. I'm really excited about reading the stories. I didn't realize that the book is not available in the U.S. I ordered it through Amazon, but it will be shipped from the UK :-)

    Thanks for the reference :-)


  52. Hilary, thanks for sharing some very interesting information and history about the ash tree. The photo and info about the The Morgan Motor Company was especially interesting :-)

  53. @ Patricia .. how lovely .. I think rows of trees offer something special - and the little fox lives amongst them. The ABCs are so interesting to see everyone's topics.

    @ Laura .. thanks & hope so!

    @ Ann - how lovely to see you .. gosh - that's an honour .. it's fun to learn though - there are some great comment additions too. Many thanks for your thoughts here.

    @ RaShalle .. I thought the car would add another dimension .. Ash trees both varieties .. stand out.

    @ Raining Acorns .. hello! Great - glad to enlighten you ...

    @ BlueStocking Mum (Debbie) .. pleasure that you're part of the challenge .. and you're here. Nature as you say is so important to us .. offers us so much. Shropshire's a lovely part of the UK.

    You're right with your saying ..
    Oak before Ash in for a Splash,
    Ash before Oak, in for a Soak.

    Those ancient folk knew their seasons and the quirks of weather! Thanks so much for your comment - good to meet you & link in quite often.

    @ Nicki .. the Mountain Ash must be beautiful in Autumn with all those berries .. thanks re the Challenge theme

    @ Connie - delighted you enjoyed the Ash

    @ Joanne .. A* my friend for that comment - brilliant ..thanks!

    @ Candyland - oh yes .. here we learn (from the post and commenters - which is so great)!

    @ Karen .. thanks - you're a star in your encouragement .. the Challenge certainly will be interesting ..

    @ Sharon .. thanks - the Morgan interested me too - lovely picture too .. delighted you're here.

    @ Hi Chuck ..good to meet you .. and so pleased you're enjoying your time here - I'm following as I go (I hope!) .. see you again here and there ...

    @ Will - glad you've joined in .. and as a musician .. you probably did know about ash for the body of a guitar .. is it waterproof enough .. no mention of boats though?

    @ Jen - many thanks .. lovely having you here ..

    WOW thanks everyone - 19 comments to wake up to .. this is great .. have fantastic Saturdays .. cheers Hilary

  54. Then I thought I'd finished .. and some more below .. WUNDERBAR!!

    @ Trisha .. lovely to see you and meet another A - Zer .. fun!

    @ Ella - lovely seeing you here - and glad I met your expectations.

    @ Doris .. that is brilliant - he'll be so pleased .. I often order books that aren't available here and have to wait for them to come from the States!! They arrive quite quickly.

    Pleasure - it'll be good to get feedback sure you'll 'enjoy' it .. thanks for letting me know.

    @ Ron Joe - I thought the Morgan would 'amuse' the men .. though a few of the ladies have noticed it - ever hopeful perhaps?! Delighted to meet you here .. and see you around the A - Z ..

    Now I've caught up .. ENJOY Saturday and the B day .. better get on & post mine! Cheers Hilary

  55. Hi, Hilary. Enjoyed your post for the A to Z challenge. I always manage to learn something new when visiting your blog.

  56. I think ash is also used to make baseball bats. Interesting how mankind finds the best uses through trial and error.

  57. Nice start. Your posts will be very enlightening and educational to many.

    Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during challenge I will not be doing so during April. If you want to respond to my comment , please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  58. @ Susanne .. many thanks - just delighted you enjoy them!! and are happy to comemnt.

    @ Stephen .. you're right - I didn't pick that up - many thanks .. lots of uses. Man is an ingenious creature - as in fact are animals .. trial and error in all things ..

    @ Arlee - many thanks .. for the comment and thought - I hope so!

    Great to see you - Susanne, Stephen and Lee .. enjoy Sunday .. cheers Hilary

  59. I started reading your post only because Ash is my nickname and I ended up learning a lot!
    Great way to start the April Challenge!

  60. Hi Ash .. that's a good reason to read the post! and we learnt something else too and met you - welcome. Cheers Hilary