Festival of the Trees 56

Welcome to the Fifty-Sixth Edition of the Festival of the Trees! You’ve come here because we share a common interest in trees, you and I. Yet how we each think of trees – how we see them – is something unique to us as individuals.

In the main, I have an interest in the ecology of trees tempered with a deep appreciation of their aesthetics, be the trees stand-alone subjects or included within their context of habitats and ecosystems and landscapes. So I like reading facts and taking photographs. I know that some people are of a spiritual nature, and their interests in trees lie chiefly in this vein. Others are more artistic, and express their interest through drawings and paintings, or for the literary-minded, poems and stories. You get the idea. Everyone does trees differently, and each month when I browse through the Festival of the Trees I get to see trees as other people see them. That must be a good thing.

For this edition of the Festival I have organised every submission as best I could into five broad categories: poetry & stories; conservation & environmental science; enjoyment & learning; spirituality; and visual arts. I hoped it might bring some order to the presentation of twenty-odd quite disparate and wide-ranging submissions. This was obviously a subjective exercise, so I hope you won’t be upset if you disagree with how I have categorised your submission! Anyhoo, let the festivities begin!

Poetry & stories

There are two poems to Festival 56. In his poem Fall at Highbanks, Steve Meador evokes pleasant autumnal scenes. Conversely, the protagonist in Charlie Hughes’ poem Ash to Ash sees only death in the fall as all around his workshop trees are ravaged by the emerald ash borer.

Dorothee of virtualnotes responds to the question ‘What do trees do at midnight?’ with an image, Nightwood, coupled with a curiously-punctuated short story, H.owl. The protagonist of Stella Pierides’ short story, The bird’s eye view, who we witness clinging to a eucalyptus tree for dear life in a flood, finds relief from her ordeal in the form of a bird. Stella also shares a photograph of a recumbent tree trunk that dreams of a more aquatic existence.

Inspired by the art of Carianne Mack Garside, Susan of . Spinning . is writing a short story for every day of the year. No. 21 (scroll down for it) - Finding New Patterns - tells of patterns that emerge from the black-and-white world of snow-covered trees dancing at night.

Conservation & environmental science

Tracy McVeigh, writing in the The Observer, tells of a new and disturbing twist in the ongoing story of sudden oak death. When the disease arrived in the UK a decade ago, scientists feared devastation amongst our native oak population (a different strain has killed millions of oaks in California). Thankfully the outbreak never lived up to the hype, but last year the disease began to rapidly infect and kill larch trees – now the race is on to stop it.

Writing at Peaceful Societies, Bruce Bonta details how the local forest wildlife and the indigenous people, the Kadar, of the Anamalai Hills in India have been affected by major developments in the past year, including the establishment of two new tiger reserves in which the Kadar have become actively involved.

I strongly believe in the importance of having plenty of trees growing in urban areas, and I know that Jacqueline of Saving Our Trees shares this view. She contributes a comprehensive article on various computer modelling systems and how they can be used to ‘calculate the value of a single tree or the value of the trees across a whole city’ – where the value may be a cash figure or something like the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered – and how these software tools are leading to trees getting recognition from local government as being more valuable than they previously realised.

At My French Forest, Michael has produced an extensive article on the endangered old-growth forests of Canada’s Pacific Coast and the fight to save them. The Government of British Columbia argues that the forests aren’t endangered, but a century and a half of continuous logging has exacted a heavy toll.

In the second Wide World of Trees Video Podcast, Gene Basler of The Wide World of Trees speaks generally on the subjects of tree activism and tree ownership, around the example of a dam authority clearing a field of trees in a Los Angeles suburb to provide storage space for sludge.

Enjoyment & learning

Rebecca of A Year With the Trees tells how she patiently learnt to identify the black cherry in winter, starting with the beautiful flowers that blossom in the springtime. Meanwhile, Laura has been hunting the black poplar. She has written a fine article regarding the tree at Patiopatch that takes in a visit to a solitary specimen in London’s Russell Square. A native of Britain and Ireland, the black poplar is also one of our rarest trees and the remaining population is sadly threatened by interbreeding with imported poplar species.

At yourfireant’s posterous Teresa shares a gallery of photos of trees in her town. Muddy Mark of Oxygen Grows On Trees revisits the first plantation he planted after joining Millson Forestry Service in 1999 to take a ‘cookie’.

Jarrett provides a study of Angophora costata (a close relative of Eucalyptus) at Creature of the Shade and captures the spectacle of their shedding of bark – ‘as though preparing [their] own pyre’. Half a world away, Rebecca of Rebecca in the Woods profiles the Hercules’ club or toothache tree and ponders the origin of its spines.

Reading about an old weeping beech got Elidad of Tree Care Tips thinking: ‘How often [do] we consider trees to have “history”? …how many of us have that special tree that we hold on to with fond nostalgia?’ JSK of Anybody Seen My Focus? shows us a well-established pond that she came across, held back behind an impressive beaver dam – one of the tallest she has seen.

At Into My Own, Kitty has had her camera out in the woods just after the rain – ‘the droplets drip off the branches like jewels.’ Silvia of Windywillow has a whole series of photos recording the heavy frosts that cloaked the trees around her home. A separate series is devoted to her flowering witch hazel and its expanding coat of jagged crystals – ‘such a happy tree in the middle of winter!’ Frosty days indeed.

Joy, who lives in The Little House in the Not-So-Big Woods, takes us up close and personal with a tree that looks suspiciously like it’s trying to get up and crawl away. It’ll struggle to move anywhere though with that massive taproot!


Only one! At Writings from Wild Soul, Wrensong tells how she has been thinking of the trees, ‘listening down into the roots, into the winter dreams of the Rooted Ones, remembering dreams of the Great Tree, the One Tree…’

Visual arts

Jasmine of Natures Whispers, inspired by contributions to the previous Festival of the Trees (hosted by Jasmine), has ‘wrapped’ some of the trees in her back garden – ‘It will be interesting to see how the passing seasons will decorate these cottons.’ In a separate post (which includes a link to some impressive ‘tree shaping’ art), Jasmine tells of how one submission regarding a collaborative project to construct a willow yurt has sent her imagination running wild!

Ester Wilson of Daily Drawings shares a sketch she made at the park of a bizarre scene unfolding beneath the trees. Over at Loose and Leafy, Lucy is reminded of an unorthodox portrait of the Prince of Wales by her photographs of silhouettes in the hedgerow – and describing the impression the painting made, she wonders if it has influenced her style of photography.

* * * * *

There we go. Thank-you for visiting – I hope you’ve found something of interest to you here. I’d also like to thank all who contributed to this edition of the Festival of the Trees, and I thank Dave, Pablo and Jade for allowing me to host the Festival for a third time.

The next edition of the Festival – No. 57, the March 2011 edition – will hosted by Rebecca of Rebecca in the Woods. Please send all your submissions to rebecca [dot] deatsman [at] gmail [dot] com. The theme is open; the deadline is the 27th of February.

It’s been emotional!

Posted in Miscellany

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