Earlier this month, I was on a trip to Ealing, West London to give some orchard management advice to an orchard group. On my travels I came across a great Cedar of Lebanon.
The sheer size of this tree stopped me in my tracks. The trunk measured around 8m in circumference, and I found myself filled with excitement and awe to be under the branches of a being so vast.
Who planted it? When? Where did the seed come from? What was the story of its coming to be here? Who has stewarded it all this time? What stories has this tree seen, in all its years of being here?
As my mind ran into stories and possibilities, I felt humbled and grateful to be around something so old, knowing that people before and after me would stand in my place, appreciating this beautiful being.
This week is National Tree Week. Initiated by The Tree Council, the week saw notable MPs including the Prime Minister Harold Wilson led tree planting ceremonies across England to raise national awareness for our treescape.
National Tree Week now engages thousands of people at the start of winter in tree planting, tree care, storytelling and craft around trees, hedges, woodlands and orchards. Within the Celebration of Orchards team at The Orchard Project, we have completed a busy harvest season, with many tonnes of apples pressed; and we are a good few weeks away from pruning and planting.
Tree Week is a chance to tune into these trees around us. A chance to enquire into how they came to be. To account for how much we take from them – fruits, resins, syrups, timber, paper, whole trees at Christmas. As we step into winter, this is also a time to check up on trees we once planted, pruned, mulched and harvested to see what they may need in the coming year. To offer gratitude to those trees which offer us so much.
National Tree Week runs from 25 November – 3 December 2017. If you are interested in caring for or planting trees in your area this winter, take a look at our events page.