• Katy Gardener

Introducing #treestories

As there are not many flowers in bloom right now, I thought it would be interesting to focus on trees. It’s especially appropriate for November as National Tree Week takes place at the end of the month.

photo credit: Arnaud Mesureur

People love trees. Trees bring colour and joy into our lives. They remind us of the passing seasons, and they bring nature into even the most urban parts of the world. Trees play host to millions of personal memories and the more I spoke to family and friends about trees I realised that everyone has a #treestory

Beech leaves. Photo credit Richard Loader

#treestory 1

Who: Jack Gardener, my husband and father to Bertie.

Favourite Tree: Beech Tree

“I chose a Beech tree as it reminds me of the village I grew up in, which is called Beech. There are hundreds of Beech trees in the village, but we had the biggest of all in our garden. We called our enormous Beech tree Boris. It has a swing hanging off one of its branches which cost Dad £10, and he maintains that it’s the best £10 he ever spent.

In the Spring you can use the leaves from a Beech tree in salads. They taste fresh, green and delicious.

I love the smooth grey bark of a Beech tree.

Beech woods are great. In late April, early May the bluebells come out, and the light coming through the green leaves of the beech trees is beautiful.”

How to identify a Beech Tree

  • Oval leaves with wavy edges and a pointed tip

  • smooth grey bark

  • Shiny, brown nuts in prickly seed case

  • Leaves that come in colours from bright lime green to dark purple

  • Elegant silhouette

The Dark Hedges. Photo credit: Trevor Cole

What else?

  • Beech trees can live up to 300 years

  • They provide excellent shade due to their dense foliage

  • They are popular as hedges, but also make magnificent avenues in urban areas.

  • According to an article posted by the Woodland Trust, one of the most photographed spots in Northern Ireland is an avenue of beech trees known as The Dark Hedges in County Antrim. The beautiful avenue was planted in the eighteenth century and was intended to impress visitors as they led up to a Georgian mansion. The trees are still magnificent and have been used to represent the Kingsroad in Game of Thrones.

  • The tallest native tree in Britain is a Beech tree. It measures 44m. The tree, which is thought to be almost 200 years old measures 44m tall and stands in the Newtimber Woods in West Sussex.

My week

Bertie and I went to the Antony Gormley exhibition at the Royal Academy where we met my friend, (and Bertie’s Godmother) Olivia. The exhibition is big and bold and Bertie’s little eyes lit up the whole way around.

We got talking to a woman in her sixties who told me that she also used to take her son around exhibitions when he was a small baby and he went on to become a famous artist who now has paintings hanging at The Tate and The National Gallery. She had high hopes for Bertie’s artistic future!

We are reenacting a photograph we took in the exact same spot twenty years ago on a day out to the Summer Exhibition with our mothers.

After the exhibition Olivia and I were so giddy and excited to see each other that we decided to have lunch at The Wolseley. Whilst we got stuck into a glass of bubbles, Bertie enjoyed his vegetable puree sitting in the chicest surroundings. It was spontaneous and decedent and the best kind of maternity leave day!

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