Happy Autumn Equinox, and welcome to Seed Gathering Season! This annual campaign organised by The Tree Council, is hoped to inspire people across the country to plant and nurture tree seedlings, to help safeguard the future of our woodlands and tree-scapes. You can find out more at: https://treecouncil.org.uk/take-action/seasonal-campaigns/seed-gathering-season/
The campaign runs from September 23rd, to October 23rd (2020).
How can you get involved? Well, head over to The Tree Council’s website to find an event near you. Why not try planting a few nuts, seeds or berries (don’t collect too many, always remember to leave plenty for the local wildlife), to grow into trees you can plant in your garden, or perhaps in your local school grounds or tree planting project with permission? You’ll need plenty of patience – trees tend to grow quite slowly!
I have always loved trees; for their beautiful shapes, forms, textures and colours, for their bounty of berries, nuts, cones and coloured autumn leaves, for their historical and cultural relevance to our own stories, and of course for the incredible range of wildlife they sustain. From moths and beetles, to squirrels, bats, and birds – the variety of creatures that rely on trees in some fashion is quite phenomenal.
Today is the Autumn Equinox, when dark nights become longer than the light days, and the balance of the season shifts. At this time, deciduous trees respond to the shortening daylight hours by withdrawing and recycling the green chlorophyll in their leaves, revealing other pigments and chemicals, before cutting off the leaf from its life support so it can be blown away on the wind. Conifers become more noticeable, in their fir coats of needles between the thinning branches of the broadleaf trees. Hedgerows, orchards and woodland edges are of course full of hips, haws, nuts and berries. Sycamore keys spin like helicopters, conkers are collected for challenges met. Textures of bark and structures of lichen-clad twigs begin to be revealed. It’s a fantastic time to celebrate trees!
I’d already planned to go for a walk on my next day off; I think I’ll pull on my boots and head to the nearby woods!
“At a time when trees are also being ravaged by newly imported pests and diseases, one important factor for the survival of some species is going to be diversity of stock and the way forward is going to be trees grown from local seed, on home soil. Growing seeds from healthy UK trees is probably one of the best ways of taking out insurance that there will be strong saplings to plant where the gaps appear.”