Do you have a favourite tree in Barrow? It could be beautiful, unusual or hold a fond
memory for you? You could nominate it for Wild About Barrow’s Tree of the Month.
A winner will be selected each month and its picture will be posted in the library window, on Barrow upon Soar Village Facebook page, and the village website, with details of the nominee. Your tree will also have its very own poster, announcing it to the world as Tree of the Month.
January 2021 gave us the very first Barrow upon Soar Tree of the Month and it’s a story of murder and misidentification. Barrow’s first Tree of the Month Award goes to a relatively new tree, a wonderful cedar (pictured right) with branches spreading their shade wide. Standing in Holbourne Close, this eye-catching tree was originally identified as a Blue Atlas Cedar, a native of Algeria and Morocco (Cedrus atlantica Glauca) but some experts now think it is a Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani). Apparently, these trees are notoriously difficult to distinguish until they become fully mature.
It is agreed, however, that it is a beautiful and elegant tree.
The mysterious story doesn’t stop there. The tree now standing replaced the original cedar, which definitely was a Cedar of Lebanon but which, sadly, had to be felled in 2005 because it was said to be diseased due to vandalism in previous years. However, after its ‘murder’, a cross-section of its trunk showed (too late) that there was only evidence of minor disease and it could have been allowed to live out a longer life. At the time of its felling, Ginnie Willcox recorded a girth of 5.7 metres with a spread of about 25 metres.
The black and white photograph shows the original Cedar of Lebanon growing in the garden of Barrow House, built in the mid-1800s and the home of John Crossley, a railway engineer. The tree, though, pre-dated the house by about 100 years.
Thank you to Wild About Barrow for bringing to our attention, this beautiful, fairy-tale, evergreen with blue needles – a native of Lebanon (… or Algeria … or Morocco) and now a settled immigrant in Barrow.
The spring has given us more trees, nominated by different village residents. Take a walk (safely) around the village during the coming seasons, stop a moment and take a good look at each of these trees. Take a breath. Notice the bark, branches and the twigs. Notice the buds and leaves as the seasons change. Notice the birds, beetles and butterflies which settle in the tree.
Look out for the posters from Wild About Barrow as more trees are nominated and featured in posters in the library and around the village. If you have a tree that you believe deserves the honour of Tree of the Month, please send a photo with details of where it can be found and why you think it deserves this honour to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may be its unusual shape, beautiful colour or flowers, sheer size, value to wildlife or personal sentiment and memories.
Wild About Barrow has noted the following trees for February, March and April:
A hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) on Nottingham Road was nominated for its imposing size, graceful upwardly pointing branches and its value to wildlife. The hornbeam is a native to this country as it arrived at the end of the last ice age before Britain became an island. It can live up to 300 years and provides shelter, roosting, nesting and foraging opportunities for birds and small mammals. Caterpillars of a number of moth species, including the nut tree tussock, eat the leaves.
The Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), (primarily a native to Alaska, Canada, northern U.S. and Russia), on Cotes Road received its nomination for its graceful shape with light airy foliage, multiple stems of striking white peeling bark and yellow autumn leaves. If you stand and look, you’ll probably see tree sparrows and siskins, two of my favourite birds! Birch trees are fast growing and, as one of the first to colonise land after the last ice age, is called a pioneer species. These trees can produce a million winged-seeds each year!
Mrs Janet Soars nominated April’s tree, the Cherry (Prunus) on Ennerdale Road, “for its glorious blossom in springtime and the joy our grandchildren and other children have on the swing. It brightens every day in spring”. There are many varieties growing across the world but they do require a certain number chilling hours to break dormancy and bloom to produce fruit. That’s the main reason they are not seen in tropical climates and seem to flower and fruit in some years better than others. April and May is the time for their glorious blossom. Take your ‘chill’ moment to stand under the canopy of a cherry tree in full blossom.