Trees really do bring people together – from 2020 early pandemic I’ve been distributing trees to groups and individuals and witnessed groups and networks forming around trees. It’s not just the planting or caring for them. Like the fabulous grove planted by Tree Sisters, Highbury Orchard, and Fruit and Nut Village, it’s making ‘places for people’ to meet and have fun.
It may be that traditional orchards are declining in the UK, but in Birmingham it feels like we are valuing and expanding wooded areas for people to have fun in, and it is supported by our Council.
Revival of the older ‘Wassail’ tradition in our city might be part of this new love of trees. Local to me there will be Wassail celebrations at Kings Heath Community Centre, Uffculme Centre, Highbury Orchard and Stirchley Fruit and Nut (I’ve probably missed a few).
Tree planting and Wassail aren’t just a one off events – it’s about developing community. Birmingham Woodcraft folk are combining Wassail celebrations (some made up), planting trees, supporting a community Memorial Orchard, and making plans with other local groups to see how we can support each other to run more activities with young people in local outdoor spaces. We took up the offer free trees for communities from the Conservation Volunteers Trust as part of the I Dig Trees programme with OVO Energy planting millions of healthy trees for climate, for wildlife and for communities. While we will be planting trees together, each of our members has the opportunity to take a free tree and build our tree folk network!
If you want to plant trees we’ve posted advice already about getting permission, getting the trees and getting any advice you might need.