Tree Dressing Day:A tree is not just for Christmas, but for …
We have over 130 mature trees in the Gardens. Most of which are important enough to have Tree Preservation Orders on them. Caring for them and keeping them in good shape – literally – is a responsibility we are proud to be able to undertake.
Although it’s financially expensive and time consuming for a small Charity like ours, without the trees framing our views, shielding us from the winds, sheltering our beneficial bugs and birds and yielding us fruit, we would be much poorer in spirit.
This year we’ve been drawn to the custom of Tree Dressing as a way to express our positive relationship with trees …. a little ‘thank you’.
Celebrated in the first weekend of December the custom was revived in 1990 by the group who re-invented Apple Day; Common Ground.
“Trees have long been celebrated for their spiritual significance. The simplicity of tying strips of cloth or yarn to a tree is universal and timeless. The old Celtic custom of tying cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a ‘clootie tree’ echoes the practice in Japan of decorating trees with strips of white paper, or tanzaku, bearing wishes and poems. The twenty-first century trend of ‘yarn bombing’ in Europe and North America transforms the local landscape with bright fabrics and yarns, like the Buddhist tradition of tying ribbons around the trunk or the annual Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan when coloured strings are tied onto trees and plants to call upon the power of nature to protect loved ones.
These deep and diverse cultural associations provide a rich basis for tree festivities across the world. The act of dressing a tree binds us to it and celebrates the unique role that trees have in our local neighbourhoods.”
Some of us went down to visit one of our lovely walnut trees that supplied us with shade during the summer family activities and supported our community art work ‘the knit knot tree’.
With paper lanterns, twig dreamcatchers and wool apples we decorated the tree. A ring of colour on the bare branches.
Why not come and visit it add your own decoration perhaps. So when you are decorating your Christmas tree this year, think about adding one of your decorations to a living tree on your street.
For more information and free resources about Tree Dressing Day, see here Common Ground and Charter for Woods, Trees and People
by Felicity Hallam & Glynis Powell