In the immortal words of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, what the world needs now is love, sweet love. Ain’t that the truth? But what the world also needs now, to the same magnitude, is trees, sweet trees. More trees and less eejits. The requirements of our planet right now can be neatly summarised in that sentence, all the ‘content’, bluster and noise can be whittled down to that one pithy requirement; more trees and less eejits. Please.
It is never a bad idea to plant a tree. It is one of those extremely rare things which can only produce good, positive and wholesome results. So, what’s the problem, why the reluctance? We know on an instinctive level that tree planting is a great thing to do, so why don’t we do it, or at least do more of it?
I can think of several grandiose once off rural houses completed in the last few years within a five-mile radius of my house in the midlands where ne’re a tree has been planted on the grounds since construction finished.
I remember speaking at a self-build expo a few years ago and being asked for one ‘take home’ piece of advice to give the tentative debut self-builder when it came to the landscape. What I went for was a resounding ‘plant your trees now’. The minute you take possession of your site there are locations in which it is glaringly obvious that a tree will work. You don’t need to have figured out the colour of the tile in the guest bathroom before you can select an appropriate species of tree for the north-east corner of the site or any of the other corners, nook and crannies for that matter. Trees anchor and punctuate the landscape. A grand country house looks pretty ridiculous without them.
Trees are no load to carry. There they go, just quietly and stealthily doing their thing in the corner, not bothering anyone. And before you know it you look around and there it is; a fourteen or sixteen foot birch, an eight foot beech, a galloping plum or crab apple, a fledgling maple or poplar.
I have written extensively elsewhere about all that trees can do for us – socially, environmentally economically – https://brianburkegardens.com/2016/02/hug-a-tree-seriously/ . Right now I’m just looking at their blindingly obvious benefits and their role in how anchored and rooted you feel in your own habitat. A well-chosen, well planted tree will do more to define your relationship with your home place than all the polished nickel door handles or velvet wallpaper this side of the Mississippi.
Think of the romantic presence of a tree presiding over households, childhoods, successive generations. A tree will take you and your family under its wing, clean your air, provide you with oxygen, shelter, a childhood of play opportunities, a lifetime of photo ops. There is nothing on this earth that is better than a tree. Go on, plant one. For goodness sake.