Your Tree Stories

Coventry Tree Warden’s have been collating people’s memories of trees that are or have in the past been special to them. The original idea was to put the memories together in a booklet that could be used to sell as a small fundraising project for the CTWN. Due to the current pandemic we have put this on hold and decided to include the memories on our website and facebook page for you to enjoy. If you would like to contribute a memory we would love to hear from you. This month we travel to Stoke Green to hear about Harriet Gore’s favourite tree.

Harriet’s Oak

My favourite tree is an oak in a neighbour’s garden. I see it each day and over the years it has become very dear to me. I am not able to make an accurate estimate of the age of this magnificent tree. However, I’d guess it is well over a 100 years old. I’ve only known it for the past 11 years but over this time it has given me great pleasure and watched over me in some difficult times.

I’ve experienced great joy in seeing the tree as the seasons change. Throughout the year its colours shine out in the sunlight. In spring as the new leaves unfurl they are a fabulous shade of green; a shade that has a luminous quality that is hard to describe. As the season changes to summer the colour of the leaves deepens to emerald as the sunlight shines through them. As the year goes on, the leaves change to a deep shade of gold that glows in the sunlight on chilly November afternoons. They are often the last leaves to fall. As the bones of the tree are exposed in winter, I can see how the branches reach out towards the light, stretching to grab every last sunbeam.

The tree is home to a huge variety of birds. One of my favourite sights, in Autumn are Jays and squirrels harvesting acorns to cache for the winter months ahead. In winter fat wood pigeons sit in the canopy catching the sun and cooing a gentle song. Winter is also the time when flashes of red alert me to the presence of a great spotted woodpecker or a group of fieldfares. In spring tits of all varieties flit thought its branches picking at the leaf buds and insects buried in the bark like troops of acrobats swinging upside down in the branches like tiny monkeys while a mistle thrush reigns at the top of tree singing loudly to attract a mate. On rare occasions the tree hosts a buzzard, a tawny owl or the local sparrow hawk; probably in the knowledge of rich pickings in the surrounding branches. Not so long ago I had a long period of illness that went on for a year or so. There were many days when I was unable to leave the house. Looking at the tree and the abundant life it supports brought me great pleasure and reminded me of the restorative powers of the nature. This tree has become very dear to me, I regard it as a friend who has brought me great joy and supported me through some tough times. Recently, research has shown the healing powers of the natural world; doctors are beginning to prescribe activities in the outdoors to help with mental and physical wellbeing. I fully agree with these findings. Being able to see trees and greenery every day certainly helped my recovery. I want to say thank you to the oak tree and all the other trees in Stoke park and wish it another few hundred years of healthy and abundant life.

Harriet Gore

Harriet’s Oak – Stoke Park, Coventry