We jumped at the chance to offer our services and assistance for one of our major clients on their tree planting community day this October. This was on a very large estate in Wimbledon where we are contracted for garden and grounds maintenance and was a good opportunity for WWP to give something back as well as meeting and getting to know many of the residents who live on this estate.
The idea behind the day was to replace some of the trees that over the years have been lost to ill health and disease while getting the children who live on the estate involved in their environment. Myself and Michael were glad to give up our Saturdays for such a good cause and arrived on site to be greeted with many enthusiastic parents and children. We met the residents over a welcome cup of tea and a croissant before heading out onto the estate to start the planting.
We supplied the materials such as compost, top soil, grass seed, daffodil bulbs and provided all the tools for use that day. The holes for the trees had already been pre-dug by ourselves the day before and were ready to plant, but first the children were invited to dig and sift through the soil to find letters making up the name of the tree to be planted, hidden by the onsite management, to win a reward of sweets.
Michael was on hand all day to demonstrate how to plant the trees and to also help the children plant each subsequent one, I on the other hand was kept busy moving the materials and trees around the large estate to the planting sites. As well as planting the trees we also planted daffodil bulbs around the base and finished off with top soil and grass seed to repair the hole up to the trunk. During all this Michael kept the children and the parents engaged in what they were doing and also educated them on the type of trees, how to plant correctly and how big the trees will eventually grow.
Species of Tree
The trees were provided by one of the residents who had grown them in pots from scratch, which was a very nice touch. The trees were horse chestnut, holly and golden rain and although they were each only about 60cm tall they will grow quickly now out of the pots and planted in the ground. Horse chestnuts, or conker trees as most of us know them, can grow up to 40 metres tall with trunks up to 2 metres wide so suit an estate the size of this one very well. The holly trees as they grow will provide food from berries and protection from the elements for birds during the winter. The golden rain trees are deciduous ornamental flowering trees, called golden rain because of the small yellow four petalled blossoms that rain down in summer or autumn causing a golden carpet below the tree.
The children on the day learned a lot about trees and also their own environment and over the years each time they pass one of these trees they will be able to say they planted that and should be very proud. Planting a tree is always fascinating to me as we are not just planting for now, but with a tree like a Horse Chestnut that could grow for another 200-300 years, we are also planting for the future.