National Tree Week is a time to celebrate all positive aspects of trees in our lives and environment. The world as we know it would cease to exist if we didn't have ample numbers of trees. Just think of the range of food from trees: fruits of all kinds, nuts, seeds, oils, tea, coffee and other drinks.
Bit by bit the world would crumble no food (none of the above), no agricultural food production – without birds and bees how could anything grow? If pollination goes, we all starve. It may sound a bit dramatic but it is true. It will happen so quickly and suddenly we will all be stunned but the signs are there at the moment. The bumble bee and the honey bee are disappearing across the globe and nothing is being done about it.
So what can be done about it? If everyone planted a tree this week look at the difference this would make. Trees are low maintenance. Once you choose the right tree for your garden the amount of maintenance is so low – a feed once a year, a mulch and that's it. Over time a prune or a trim back is all that is needed.
If you have children you should be planting some apple trees. Give your offspring the joy of eating chemical free apples straight from the tree. Anybody who has grown fruit trees will know the thrill of delving into a juicy fresh apple – can't you just taste it. I still remember the taste of 'Beauty of Bath' in early autumn and later on what we called 'The Christmas Apple' which now I think must have been 'Cox's Orange Pippin' which was the icing on the cake. Such taste! What goodness!
I look in horror on the cosmetic apples which our supermarkets are forcing on us. Wash them and you will see the coating of chemicals sprayed on them – not by the grower but by the middleman in the business wishing them to be redder than red and wanting them to last far longer than a normal storage season. And we wonder why so many people have tumours, growths and so many health problems.
It's not rocket science, just common sense. Eat fresh, buy local. Alas this may be too late as most growers have been squeezed by central distribution and supermarkets. And if that was not bad enough Mother Nature has dealt us a further cruel blow over the past five years. Does anyone trust labels that say 'local' or 'Irish' anymore? I for one certainly would not.
Tree Week is a positive week so let's look at some of the best trees for your garden:
• Birch – easy to grow and hardy
• Laburnum – very hardy for cold windy sites
• Hardy Maples – Canadian Sugar Maple is a really lovely tree
• Japanese Maples – suitable for the more sheltered garden.
• Amelanchier – wonderful autumn colour
• Oak and Beech – suitable for a large country garden
• Mountain Ash – best planted in groups of three
• Fruit Trees – especially Apples and Ornamental Malus (Crab)
• Cherry Blossom – who can resist one?
• Lilac Tree – for sheer fragrance
• Cotoneaster – lovely evergreen with lots of berries for wildlife
• Magnolia – a great tree for a town garden
• Hawthorn – what would bees do without this great tree- comes in white and a lovely cherry red
Get connected with trees this weekend! Look at them with a pair of fresh eyes and take in the beauty they give us all as well as cleaner air, less noise, more shelter and, most of all, our supply of food. Happy Planting!
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