It's a stag's horn.
This is Rhus typhina, commonly known as the Stag's Horn Sumach. Our neighbour gave us a young plant many, many years ago, and told us it was called a Tree of Heaven. And that is the name we knew it by, until a few years ago when I did a bit of digging. Er, not that sort of digging, I meant research. Anyway, I discovered that the Tree of Heaven is actually a very similar shrub called Ailanthus. And the shrub we had was a Rhus.
The original plant was grown in the back garden, but eventually had to be removed to make way for a patio. Fortunately, it had produced a couple of suckers which we planted in the front garden. They both grew quite well, but one of them started leaning quite badly, caused by the prevailing wind, and had to be removed. And this one remains.
As you can see, at this time of year it produces red seed cones. In a few weeks time, the leaves will turn bright scarlet before leaf fall. If you decide to grow this plant, you need to be aware of a couple of pitfalls. Firstly, when pruned it produces a sap that can cause skin irritation. Secondly, if the ground is disturbed around its roots, it will grow lots of suckers. I always wear gloves when pruning it, and the suckers are easily pulled up when quite young.
There were quite a few butterflies in the garden yesterday, so I decided to take some photos:
And finally, a bit of weather news. As August is coming to an end, it's time to look out for the September anti-cyclone. This is a large area of high pressure that appears every year during the first two weeks of September. If it comes across the UK, we get two weeks of fine weather, but if it comes above or below the UK, we get two weeks of gale force winds. With the weather we've been having this year, anything could happen.