TREE Dressing has roots deep in legend and ancient custom, going back to the pagan Green Man, symbolising the cycle of growth, rebirth and the natural world. It is based on customs from all over the world.
In different parts of Britain, Ireland and northern Europe, there is a tradition of fastening a piece of cloth to trees, usually hawthorn, near holy wells. After taking the water, people tie a piece of their clothing to the tree. The tree is a symbol of long life and health. In Scotland these are called clootie trees.
‘Common Ground’, an environmental charity which links nature with culture, re-invented Tree Dressing day in 1990. A group of London Plane trees were decorated with 150 large numbers, showing that every tree counts. Since then, groups and individuals have dressed their trees all over the country.
Tree Dressing aims to encourage the celebration of trees in l town and country, in the street and in the woodland. It highlights our responsibility for looking after trees and reminds us of their enormous importance.
People and trees have had a close relationship for thousands of years. They have provided us with food, raw materials and shelter from the sun or rain. They absorb pollutants and muffle urban noise pollution. As green plants they make oxygen for us to breathe. We have learned to cultivate them, breed them, destroy and conserve them in many ways.
They have also always been part of our emotional and spiritual landscape. In recent years people who hug trees or live in trees while campaigning to prevent their destruction have had publicity.
Tameside Greenspace, with help from the Greenspace Volunteers, are planting over 3,000 trees this season and you can help. There are a couple of days planting in December at Cowbury Green and Whittles Farm, Denton, and there will be more venues in 2019.
Look on https://www. tameside.gov.uk/ countryside/ volunteering for more information.
If you want to get festive this weekend, you can make a Christmas Wreath from natural materials. On Saturday, December 8, come to the Highfield Pavilion, Stamford Park, Stalybridge, between noon and 3pm and on Sunday, December 9, between 11am and 3pm at Park Bridge Heritage Centre, The Stables, Park Bridge, Ashton-underLyne, OL6 8AQ. l
Nicola Graham’s son Reuben died in 2012