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Tree Dressing Still

It’s National Tree Week!

24 November 2018

This year National Tree Week takes place across the country from 24th November to 2nd December. The annual tree celebration was first instituted back in 1975 to launch the start of the annual tree planting season. Since then it has become the focus of activity for The Tree Council’s member organisations to promote events to inspire people to get ‘down and dirty’ and plant trees.

You can follow the link below to find out what’s going on in your local area:

National Tree Week

Events other than tree planting include the age-old tradition of tree dressing, a symbol of care and appreciation of trees. The idea was rediscovered and promoted across the country in 1990 by the environmental charity Common Ground which was set up to seek imaginative ways to engage people with their local environment. (Interestingly, one of our favourite books on trees, Wildwood, a Journey through Trees (7926) is written by Roger Deakin one of the three founder members of Common Ground).

Since then tree dressing has featured as an environmental activity promoted by many councils in the UK as a celebration of the role of trees in the community. Activities often focus on art and craft related projects aimed at children, where sustainable or recycled materials are used to decorate trees, sometimes accompanied with singing and dancing.

The custom of tree dressing in various forms is performed in many cultures around the world. In the Hindu tradition in India several species of tree are considered sacred and are honoured for their provision of food, shelter and medicine. In one area a local tree is coated with butter, daubed with vermillion and turmeric then adorned with flowers.

In Britain the ancient custom has links with the Green Man legends and other traditional activities. The custom of tying a rag or a piece of clothing to a tree near a holy well is practiced after taking the water in some places. Known as clootie (cloth) trees in Scotland, they are a symbol of long life and health. You can find out more about the fascinating examples of tree dressing from around the world on the Common Ground website.

Here at Calibre HQ we have used recycled damaged CDs to decorate one of the fruit trees in the orchard adjacent to our offices. Each autumn Clive, our Stores and Maintenance man, picks the apples and plums for the staff and volunteers to help themselves to. The sloes and blackberries in the hedgerows we have to pick ourselves!

A dressed tree at Calibre Audio Library

So, to finish off, here are some books, both fiction and non-fiction, on trees available from the Calibre Library, and, for those of you who like a challenge - a quiz for you to test your knowledge of trees and forests. Link

The Long, Long Life of Trees by Fiona Stafford (12503)

Wildwood, a Journey through Trees by Roger Deakin (7926)

A Year in the Woods: A Diary of a Forest Ranger by Colin Elford (9549)

Why Willows Weep: Contemporary Tales from the Wood edited by Tracy Chevalier (9704)

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (5032)

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy (12294)

White Beech by Germaine Greer (12069)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (8641)

Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland (9943)

Calibre Tree Quiz

  1. Where did Robin Hood hide out from the Sherriff of Nottingham?
  2. Where do Roald Dahl’s Minpins live?
  3. Which Lake District forest is famous for its sculpture trail?
  4. Which forest did Queen Victoria dedicate to the use and enjoyment of her people for all time?
  5. Which forest was Shakespeare’s inspiration for As You Like it?
  6. Name the three forests in Tolkein’s Middle Earth.
  7. Which forest in the north east of England is part of the largest Dark Sky Park area of protected night sky in Europe?
  8. Which small deciduous tree of the genus Sorbus is also known as the Mountain Ash?
  9. What kind of tree found in the churchyard at Llangernyw, North Wales, is reckoned to be the oldest tree in Europe, carbon dated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old?
  10. From which tree does salicylic acid, an active ingredient of aspirin, come from?

Come back here on Friday, 30th November when the answers will be revealed!