Who doesn’t love a good tree? Tall, stately, elegant and beautiful, their quiet presence in our lives just makes us feel good.
But they’re not only here to look pretty. They’re absolutely vital for the health of our planet, in all kinds of ways. And since their debut 300 million years ago, they’ve marked a turning point for the Earth, helping to transform it into a thriving utopia for all creatures great and small.
Not only do they breathe oxygen, protect soil and support wildlife, they’re also carbon-munching powerhouses in the fight against the climate crisis. They have been proven to do everything from helping lower stress to raising property values, and believe it or not, even fighting crime. Yes, trees really are super-heroes!
It’s been proven that just looking at trees can make us feel happier, less stressed and more creative. That’s partly because they release chemicals called phytoncides. When we breathe them in, it can have amazing effects, reducing blood pressure, lowering anxiety levels and increasing pain threshold and they can even boost our levels of anti-cancer proteins. So exposure to trees and nature has also been proven to reduce mental fatigue and help concentration. So maybe skip that third coffee and go in search of your nearest oak!
Recently forest bathing has taken off as a source of health and wellness, with more and more over-worked individuals immersing themselves in a quiet wood or forest in something between a walk and a meditation to cleanse the self and relax.
Originating in Japan, forest bathing (also called Shinrin-yoku) is becoming hugely popular. This is a practice that involves doing mindful walks in forests, to soak up the relaxing vibes. It’s thought that doing something as simple as immersing yourself in the calming atmosphere of a forest has taken off as a source of health and wellness for mental wellbeing. Forests have a hush like a library in its many books of green leaves, and they share a certain peace if you’re willing to walk with them a little while.
When we’re exposed to certain chemicals released by trees (known as phytoncides), research reveals everything from reduced blood pressure and anxiety to increased pain threshold, and even an increase of anti-cancer proteins.
So the tree-huggers were right all along!
With March breezing in and the last of the frosts (hopefully) behind us, we can finally look forward to Spring. We can already see the signs of change here at the nursery, as our broadleaves begin to wake from their winter hiatus. Our rowan saplings are breaking bud whilst some mature trees in woodland areas nearby are starting to bloom.
There are several species that are famous for their early bloom; wild cherry, hawthorn and rowan being among the first. These early bloomers are often steeped in folklore, with hawthorn famously known as the protector of fairies. The wild cherry is said to possess mysterious qualities and symbolising good fortune and luck in highland lore.
Whilst we aren’t lucky enough to see our saplings marvel in beautiful blooms while they are with us on the nursery we love to see how our trees and shrubs grow and bloom when they are planted out. Dylan, a teacher from East Lothian recently sent us a picture of his cherry plum blossom he purchased some years ago from us. Their creamy white clusters are a favourite with pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Why not treat your Mum to something different this year?
Bouquets of flowers are lovely, but only last a week. Our native trees are a lasting gift for you and your Mum to treasure for years to come. We have carefully selected a range of garden trees which represent strength, love, wisdom and protection and which can all be gifted in beautiful packages as perfect Mother’s Day gifts.
For thousands of years the oak tree has been a symbol of strength. A slow growing deciduous broadleaf, this tree is best suited in a larger garden. With an average height of 20 metres and a lifespan of 150—250 years this tree is a perfect symbol to be passed down to generations.
2. Jams, Jellies & Preserves Mix
This selection of trees and shrubs is a great starting kit for jam and preserve making. With hawthorn and elder to make sweet dark jams and rowan and crab apple to make delicious jellies and preserves. A few short seasons of nurturing and fruit will start to produce. These trees and shrubs can be kept relatively small if pruned & trained, making them a manageable task for even the lowest maintenance gardeners.
3. The Botanicals Mix
We all deserve a little tipple now and then, right!? If your mum is a gin lover then this pack is the perfect gift! Inside you will get 2 juniper plants, a blackthorn, for making sloe gin and an elder shrub – to make elderberry gin. This winning combination will have your mum making her very own moonshine in no time!
4. The Tree of Protection
Tall and slender – known as The Lady of the Woods the Silver Birch is a graceful, elegant tree. With white papery bark and droopy shimmery leaves this sacred tree is known for its protective powers and the ability to ward of evil spirits.
5. The Tree of Love
With puffs of delicate pink, white blossoms, and apples for making warming pies in the autumn it’s no wonder why the crab apple tree is the Tree of Love. A perfect tree for a small garden, compact in height and spread. A great pollinator and often showing bloom as young as 2 or 3 year-old, this tree is great if you want to see the fruits of your label quick!
6. Save the Bees Mix
Is your mum crazy about bees because we sure are. This specially designed mix of super pollinators will have all the bees a buzzing. Each tree produces beautiful flowers in Spring, which attract the bees and in turn pollinate and help produce fruit for birds and other small mammals in the autumn and winter months.
7. The Tree of Wisdom
How does the saying go… ‘Mothers know best!’
The hazel is a small tree, perfect for a modest garden and a firm favourite with wildlife. Steeped in mythology and lore, nuts of a hazel tree are said to invoke wisdom. With a height of 12m when mature and a lifespan on 50-80 years this carbon catcher is a wonderful addition to any garden.
If the recent lockdown has taught us anything it’s that we don’t need nearly as much as we are used to having. Although going out for dinner and drinks at the weekend are still a welcomed treat, more and more of us connected with nature over the lockdown months and if you are anything like us, enjoyed the local woodland walks full of fruit and nut trees. Foraging for food is also a great way to save on money, before you do however we’ve pulled together a code of conduct for foraging within public woodlands:
Crab apples, blackthorn berries (sloe), rowan, hawthorn, elderberrys and hazel are all great species to forage. These native trees and shrubs grow well in both urban and countryside areas.
Rowan and crab apples are small deciduous trees that grow well in urban green spaces and are perfect for a small- medium sized back garden. Cooking with crab apple will get you some delicious apple crumble/ pie and rowan berries can be turned into jelly (that goes great meat like lamb and venison).
Blackthorn and hawthorn are often used as hedging plants and can be seen along the edges of fields and public walkways, a perfect excuse to grab a bucket and take the kids on a walk. Hawthorn berries can be made into a jelly too, making it a great accompaniment to cheese (and wine – if you are over 18!). Blackthorn & elder berries make wonderful liquors, both go very well with gin.
The hazel tree you will find in local woodlands but you may be lucky to get a handful as they are the squirrels favourite. If you are lucky enough to get some you can make a whole host of tasty treats, our favourite is a chocolate hazelnut spread.
In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis of the importance of bees. To celebrate World Bee Day we wanted to tell you why bee’s are so important to our ecosystem.
The main reason bee’s are so important to us is because they pollinate the vast majority of the food we harvest. Approximately 80% of all flowering plants are pollinated by animals, mostly insects (which includes bees). Pollination is crucial because many vegetables, fruits and the crops that feed livestock rely on it to be fertilised. Veggies like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower reply solely on honey bees and solitary bees for pollination so without them, we could have serious crop problems. While there are other methods of pollination, like the wind, birds, bats and other insects, wild bees are among the most important pollinators because they are capable of pollinating on a much bigger scale.
As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for a number of creatures both big and small.
Our bee mix is a great addition to any garden, this mix will provide interest and activity all year round and help our fuzzy friends continue to strive.
Pick up our ‘save the bees’ pack here!
Having survived January, February is always welcomed with open arms. Dry January is over, people are no longer holding their resolutions and the balance of the universe seems to be truly restored. The days are getting brighter and although February tends to be a wet and often dreich month there are signs of life appearing everywhere you look. In February we, on average, gain an extra 2 and a half minutes of sunlight each day, meaning by the end of the month we’ll have gained a whole hour and 10 minutes! Which is great news for us but also wonderful news for our plants 😊
With more daylight hours the promise of Spring creeps in, you can see daffodils start to open and the Easter Eggs are firmly in the seasonal isles but with the mild winter weather is this a good time to plant? The answer, quite simply is, of course! Our cell grown plants can be planted all year round if the soil is properly cultivated so have a look at our favourite February shrubs & get planting!
Blooming from January to June, common gorse can grow in all kinds of habitats including coastal grasslands, towns & gardens. Common gorse is a large, evergreen shrub, covered in needle-like leaves and has a very distinctive coconut-perfume. Its deep yellow flowers are a great source of nectar for birds as it’s in flower for long periods of time, making it easily recognisable and are a great food source, even in the Winter months.
Another February favourite is Cherry laurel (pictured left), this evergreen scrub has handsome glossy dark green leaves that can grow up to 15cm in length. This shrub is great for heading as it tolerates cutting and regenerates well. It can last in extreme coldness and tolerate temperatures as low as -20C. The Cherry laurels flower is a beautiful white upright raceme that blooms from May – June & fruits cherries that turn to black. Careful though, the shrub leaves and fruit are toxic to humans if digested.
As today is officially the gloomiest day of the year we thought we would lighten your load with some interesting facts about one of our coniferous trees, The Blue Spruce.
Pincea pungens glauca is an evergreen tree native to the Rocky Mountain regions of North America. The tree has a mature height of around 75ft when grown in the wild & while it grows relatively slowly. It is long-lived and may reach ages of 600 – 800 year.
The tree was first discovered in Colorado on top of the Pikes Peak in 1862 and got its name due to the unique silver-blue colour, attributed to the white powder that forms on new, young needles.
Its needles are 4 sided with a very sharp point, which gives the species its name ‘pungens’ meaning sharp in Latin. The tree itself grows in a columnar form which means it grows up like a pillar with dense, horizontal growing branches.
The blue spruce was adopted as the official state tree of Colorado by the State’s school children in 1852. Today the blue spruce is often used as ornamental evergreen trees and makes a beautiful addition to any decent sized garden, its also a favourite with Christmas tree growers in the UK.