Trees, People and Art

10th October 2017
Sheffield Wednesday Alder

Sheffield Wednesday: The owls and the alder tree.

Sheffield is home to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, which was formed in 1857. Today the main teams are Sheffield United ‘The Blades’ and Sheffield Wednesday ‘The Owls’. While ‘The Blades’ name is easily attributed to Sheffield’s main historic industry, most people don’t know why Sheffield Wednesday are known as ‘The Owls’. People would be forgiven in thinking the team once had a pet owl as the mascot, or some other strigine link. In fact, the reason Sheffield […]
12th July 2016

Thoreau and Arboriculture

    HENRY DAVID THOREAU was born 199 years ago, on 12th July 1817.  An extraordinary person and writer, he is often credited with anticipating modern ecology and environmentalism. His particular fascination with trees should also justifiably label him as one of the forefathers of modern arboriculture. The definition of arboriculture is the science and art of tree care, and few individuals embodied these qualities more than Thoreau. Trees were crucial to his writing, poetry, philosophy and spirituality; however, he also […]
17th April 2016

George Orwell: Spring is here, and they can’t stop you enjoying it.

  George Orwell is one of England’s greatest writers. He is not famous for nature writing, yet Orwell’s 1946 essay about the arrival of Spring, is a masterpiece. It’s a clearly written easy-read, avoiding any of the flowery language often used in nature writing, and it highlights Orwell’s brilliant insight, humanity and common sense truths that are still helpful today.   He begins his essay by referring to the toad – largely because he sees it as the underdog of […]
19th March 2016

Marilyn Monroe: Trees give me a little hope

Marilyn Monroe defines the 1950s. Even today, as an icon of American popular culture, she has few rivals. She epitomised the modern liberated woman – an endorsement of consumer culture and glamour – available to anyone using the right make-up, clothes and peroxide. The public perception of Marilyn Monroe seems about as far as one can get from the realm of trees. However, she displayed an ongoing and genuine affection for trees and woods, as evidenced from interviews with her […]
22nd December 2015

Tree Surveys in the Bleak Midwinter

Tree surveys in winter bring their own challenges. Trying to look up into the crown of a tree in the icy rain isn’t fun for long. The speed of a tree surveyor, moving from one tree to the next, seems to be perfect to avoid the creation of any type of body warmth. All before the inevitable raging against the dying of the light, as darkness falls at 3pm. One aspect of surveying trees in winter that many arborists initially struggle with […]
17th July 2015

The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest

The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It was recently the clear winner in England’s tree of the year competition. Yet, if it was not for the work of a retired local man, it would have been a different story. The tree would have remained just another Oak in Birchland Wood. Mr Hayman Rooke was born in 1723 in London. After a military career, “Major” Rooke retired, to Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire. In […]
2nd April 2015

The trees are coming into leaf

Conventional wisdom has it that life speeds up as we get older. It certainly seems that the months and years fly by faster, and I’m always astonished to discover, “It’s already April!”  This feeling of mild anxiety – that time is passing me by – is never more prominent during spring. At this time of year nature is inexorable; stubbornly marching to its own pace, it races on while I am left incredulous, late to the party, “Since when was the hawthorn […]
12th November 2014

Charlotte Mew on Men and Trees

  Today we are increasingly aware of the importance of urban forestry to human mental and spiritual well-being. The prose and poetry of Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)  was such thinking.   Charlotte lived, for the most part, in poverty and despair. Tormented by her brother’s and sister’s mental illness, which confined them to asylums and early death; she vowed never to marry as she feared she might carry a hereditary mental illness, and this fear and grief ultimately led to her suicide. Despite this, she produced […]
12th October 2014


There are just so many interesting facts; the internet is full of them! You probably know most of the more common facts about trees, but here are some amazing facts* about trees that you didn’t know. OK so they may be unfounded but – after all – this is the internet, so who really cares, as long they blow your mind!   7: You probably know that the root system is one of the most important parts of the tree. But did you realise a tree’s […]
9th October 2014

Disraeli & Gladstone & Arboriculture

Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone were both politicians of extraordinary ability; today they are consistently ranked in lists of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers.  They were possibly the greatest parliamentary rivals in history: their personalities clashed and they heartily loathed each other.  The feuding politicians were celebrities of the day, with their battles in the House of Commons attracting as much public attention as the marriage of a film star today.    The ghosts of Disraeli and Gladstone loomed in the background […]