I have been planning a tree growing project for the school where I work, Queens Park Primary School Brighton. The idea is for children to be able to make a positive contribution to fighting climate change by growing trees from seed or nut. There has been a lot of talk about growing more trees in this country, but we do not currently produce enough seedlings or saplings to meet the demand and importing trees will run the risk of importing tree diseases, so it is always better to grow local trees. I therefore planned to collect lots of acorns, which are easy to grow and can be gathered locally.
This year, however, has been very bad for acorns. I go and see my Mum on her birthday, October the 15th, every year. And every time I visit her, the lane behind her house is full of acorns. She lives in Hampshire; oak trees are so common there, they’re known as the ‘Hampshire weed’, but not this year. I couldn’t find a single usable acorn! I asked people I know, wondering if this was just a Hampshire problem, but it wasn’t. Last year was an especially good year for acorns, which means this year is an especially bad one. So much for all my plans.
Not one to be defeated, I have decided to order some seeds and nuts from Chiltern Seeds. They did not have any acorns, so instead I ordered Hazelnuts, Common Hornbeam, Silver Birch, and Common Alder – all of which are indigenous trees. I also got some Lime seeds because I am a wood carver and Lime is one of the best woods for carving- call that personal interest, if you will. I thought it was time to replace all that Lime I had carved up in the past. It also lessens the temptation to get some Giant Redwood seeds as well! And with these seeds, we can finally begin our Nuts for the Trees project.