The Queen's trees
‘Free tree’, said the notice on social media. ‘Your final
chance’. I had been wondering about this. I heard the news last year in the
Queen’s Jubilee. Plant a tree for the Platinum Jubilee. We were all to have a tree
to plant but where was it? Well, suddenly it was here. Last Wednesday we were
invited to collect our free tree from the marketplace. There has been an
extension of the scheme by King Charles to the end of this month. March is really
the last month to plant the trees before the growing season starts.
‘First come, first served,’ said the notice, so we set off early,
but we could not find the trees. Then suddenly there was the stall with a blue
and white awning and a big queue already waiting. We joined the queue in time
You could choose a tree from a selection of species. The man
in front of me chose hazel.
“You will not get any nuts,” I said, “the squirrels will get
“I like squirrels,” he answered undaunted. “And in any case,
I like the catkins.”
I chose a wild cherry.
“You won’t get any cherries,” said the man, “the birds will
get them first!”
I chose wild cherry because many years ago my late father
saved tree coupons for me from his tobacco packets.
“Trees are the lungs of the nation,” he said as he puffed
away on his pipe, obviously not thinking of his own lungs. When he had saved
enough coupons, he gave them to me and I swapped them for a wild cherry tree from
the tobacco company. It grew into a strong sturdy tree.
“I knew it would be good,” said Dad, “because their baccy is
But recently this, now very old, tree lost branches and began
to die. So, our Queen’s tree will replace it.
Our new tree was wrapped in newspaper and we were given a
leaflet about the Green Canopy with instructions on how to plant it. We were
also given a luggage tag where we had to write our postcode. We hung it on a
nearby street tree. Our code will eventually go on a map to show where one
million trees have been planted.
Our sapling was only about two foot tall, but it has a very
healthy root system and we put it in our orchard where we can keep an eye on
it. I will enjoy watching the birds eating the fruit.
The other good news is that there is frog spawn in our Oak
Meadow pond. I know I announce it every year but each time it happens it brings
(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)
One in a million
Our wild cherry tree from the Queen