AS LOVELY AS A TREE
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
So wrote the American poet, Joyce Kilmer. In Wenvoe we are lucky to have a wonderful collection of trees which, if you removed the houses, would make a respectable arboretum in its own right. Dominated by the massive Horse Chestnuts and Pines around Grange Park, many of our gardens also have an amazing variety and range of, often smaller, trees. You do not need a huge garden to plant a tree in – there are species to suit every size and taste. And each one will, in its own way, help the environment, capture carbon, cool its surroundings and provide shelter and, often, food for wildlife.
Take Walston Close, for example. In the front gardens of this small cul-de-sac of 9 houses you can see Black Lace Elder, Eucryphia Nymanensis, several Acers, a couple of Cabbage Palms, Liquidamber, Weeping Purple Beech, Variegated Sycamore, Magnolia, two Apple trees, a Wedding Cake Tree (see below) and even a small Handkerchief Tree. One garden alone has 14 Acers and another 17 trees including Crabapple, Hop Tree, 4 Italian Cypress, Amelanchier, a Claygate Pearmain Apple, Silver Birch, two Blue Sausage Trees and a Judas Tree. Other trees known about in the Close include Gingko, Purple Beech and Indian Bean Tree. There are no doubt several others in back gardens which are known only to the householders. And not to mention all the conifers which are often not so easy to identify.
The Tree Trail covers many of the other interesting trees in the village such as Persian Ironwood, Laburnum, Walnut, Loquat, Clerodendron, Mulberry, Corkscrew Hazel and Bird Cherry. There is an ancient Yew in the churchyard considered already very old in 1700 and a Beech by the war memorial supposedly planted to celebrate the end of the Boer War. However, the trail does need updating as a number of trees have been removed for whatever reason and not replaced. These include Walnut, Tulip Tree and Balm of Gilead Poplar. Port Road is lined with a variety of mature trees including many Hornbeam which are not that common in the wild around here. The fields either side of the road to the Golf Club have some magnificent old oaks probably dating back to the Constable era.
How many new trees are being planted? Precious few, alas, although we were delighted to see those recently planted on the village green by a local family. The school has ambitious plans with 5 apples already in the ground and a hedgerow waiting for Autumn to enter the ground. Three new oaks went in on the fields on the way to the Golf Course. The Wildlife Group have planted around 200 fruit and other trees over the last decade. Looking out at the woodland around Wenvoe one could be forgiven for thinking that our level of tree cover is good but with England at 10% when the European average is 38%, we are near the bottom of the pile. TV presenter Iolo Williams has said more trees are needed to prevent a “collapse in wildlife”.
With Global Warming threatening, temperatures increasing and the countryside disappearing planting a tree (or two!) is one of the easiest ways in which you can make a difference. And please write to What’s On and let us know how you get on.