Trees

The Magick of Hawthorn

The Hawthorn is one of our most wild and magical native trees. Steeped in folklore they can live for up to 700 years. Once a custom to plant one in every garden for good luck, they are often found marking ancient sites and boundaries. They support a plethora of wildlife, including over 300 species of insects, doormice and other small mammals and many bird including migrating species over the winter.

Come May the hedgerows are an abundant mass of creamy Hawthorn blossom earning them the name ‘May tree’ they flower just in time for Beltane – the festival of Nature’s abundance and fertility.

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Trees

Hazel

Hazel trees (Corylus avellana) are particularly striking at this time of year and along with Willow and Elder are associated with the festival of Imbolc, celebrated as the first signs of Spring appear at the beginning of February.

Both Hazel and Willow have similar properties that we can embrace as we transition out of the Winter season. Their branches are particularly flexible, and they grow quickly and with ease before other trees begin to stir, making them wonderful trees to work with to support new beginnings and when we need to connect with courage to overcome challenges.

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Trees

Birch

Within a life span similar to our own (which is relatively short in the tree world), Birch trees can completely transform their environments. A pioneer species, they have the ability to move into a piece of open ground, and transform it into woodland. Their deep roots can draw a vast amount of nutrients up through the earth which they return to the soil in the Autumn when they lose their leaves. This creates favourable conditions for other tree species to move in. For this reason, Birch trees symbolise new beginnings, growth and rebirth.

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Within a life span similar to our own (which is relatively short in the tree world), Birch trees can completely transform their environments. A pioneer species, they have the ability to move into a piece of open ground, and transform it into woodland. Their deep roots can draw a vast amount of nutrients up through the earth which they return to the soil in the Autumn when they lose their leaves. This creates favourable conditions for other tree species to move in. For this reason, Birch trees symbolise new beginnings, growth and rebirth.

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Trees

Yew

A tree I have been journeying with recently is the Yew tree, Taxus baccata. Typically associated with the Samhain season, I have found myself really connecting and learning about this tree this Spring season with my wonderful book ‘Walking with trees’ by Glennie Kindred as my companion.

Like Willows, Yews are dioecious meaning that trees are either male or female. In the Spring the male trees produce an array of flowers covered with golden pollen. This pollen is carried by the wind to the smaller flowers of the female trees that will go on to produce the red berries in the Autumn.

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Trees

Willow

I feel very lucky to have received some wonderful books for my birthday this year, one being ‘Walking with Trees’ by Glennie Kindred (one of my favourite authors and nature connectors).

It has inspired me to form an even deeper connection with some of our lovely native and naturalised trees in Britain and I thought it might be nice to share some of my journeying here, starting with Willow a beloved tree all year round, but particularly special in Spring.

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