A TREE LOVE STORY
I can’t help it: I just love trees. They are beautiful, large wonders of nature. I live among the wonderful Surrey Hills – an area covered with trees of all kinds. Our garden has an area of woodland with mostly oak, beech, ash and holly trees all vying for a patch of blue sky.
One particular beech tree at the bottom of the garden is enormous. I haven’t measured it, but it would probably take about three people to link arms at the bottom. There is some decay and a couple of holes in which animals could, and probably do, live. It is a truly giant tree and is possibly about 300 years old. It must be home to an indeterminate number of creatures and nearly every day I go down the garden to stand and look up to the top way above my head, and marvel at its symmetry.
During Easter this year, we held our annual Easter Egg Hunt for our seven grand-children. The weather was slightly inclement, but nothing daunted and before their arrival, I spent some time hiding eggs (all in plastic bags because of the many squirrels who would probably enjoy some chocolate). I tried to be as selective as possible according to age and each child had three bags each to look for – colour coded of course.
Two of our older grandchildren – 13 and 11 respectively – presented more of a problem. How to make the search harder? When I remembered the holes in the bottom of my favourite tree, I knew just what to do. And so armed with plastic bags I walked down to the bottom of the garden and placed one bag in each hole. We also have an old stable, so I hid some more amongst the old logs piled up inside. My constant worry was that the animals would find them before the children, but that made it even more exciting as far as I was concerned.
Fortunately the weather held and with much excitement and chatter the children set off to find their eggs. I must admit that my hiding place in the tree turned out to be quite a difficult one, even for the two older children. In the end, I had to give them some clues, which admittedly they were able to decipher with a little help from their parents! After all the excitement they all raced inside to have some tea. On reflection they didn’t eat as much as I thought they would, but I did notice that quite a few of the chocolate eggs had already been consumed.
When I remember the day of the Easter Egg Hunt and the fact that the trees were then still bare, and I look down our garden at all the trees now in full leaf, I feel how lucky we are in this country to have so many different kinds of trees. But, there is a growing problem. Diseases of all kinds can, and indeed do, infect and kill some of our trees. We mourned the loss of the Elm and now, there is every possibility that we might lose the majority of our beautiful Ash trees. We have about ten really healthy looking Ash trees in our garden, some young and some quite old and large, which are quite literally dripping with ‘keys’. I am not a scientist or a tree expert, but my love for mine and the country’s trees, is making me collect as many of the Ash seeds as possible. I sincerely hope that some of the Ash trees survive, but perhaps…and I say perhaps, if the worst comes to the worst, I can, just like the pear pip I managed to grow into a small two-foot tall tree, I might be able to grow an Ash or two from the seeds I am collecting.
This weekend, my little pear tree is being ceremoniously planted in our garden. Good luck little tree!