Lime trees, particularly a variety of the Common Lime, Tilia X europaea, with a columnar shape, were a favourites with the Victorians and were planted in the grounds of a now-vanished villa, here in the Dearne Valley between Barnsley and Rotherham. The century-old trees were given preservation orders when new houses were built in the old walled garden.
Unfortunately, even with preservation orders, trees do eventually start to die back and one of trees here needed major surgery to keep it alive.
On Saturday evening, around 9 p.m., we watched them emerging and lost count of home many there were. I’d say well over a hundred. There would be a pause and then several would shoot out one after the other.
Some of them headed straight for the tree that had been their nursery roost, others hawked about overhead, appearing and disappearing at lightning speed in the gathering gloom above us.
We’re on coal measures here. This sandstone boulder serves as a garden feature at the foot of a still-thriving lime.