Saturday 25th November saw a fantastic celebration of trees take place at Petersfield Community Garden, marking the start of National Tree Week. The first Petersfield Tree Festival, a special event run in partnership with Petersfield Climate Action Network, Petersfield Community Garden, The Tree Council, and East Hampshire District Council, offered visitors the opportunity to celebrate the benefits of trees and learn more about them. This event has sprouted out of PeCAN’s A Fruit Tree in Every Garden project, which is now in its fourth year.

Tree Festival Demo 1 Tina Knowles Photography 3299

In the glorious winter sunshine, visitors collected the subsidised £12 fruit trees they had purchased and then enjoyed free demonstrations on how to plant, prune, train, graft, layer and care for their trees, from Roger Grange and The Tree Council’s Head of Major Tree Planting Projects (National Region) Phil Paulo, who said that the aim of the event was to “inspire more people to plant more trees and offer support to help those trees survive”. Planting trees not only locks up carbon from the atmosphere – it can result in a legacy of increased biodiversity, wildlife protection, shade provision and flood mitigation.

Local tree wardens and representatives of Petersfield Society Green Infrastructure Group were on hand to offer advice, including how to care for trees as they age. PeCAN offered potted fruit trees for sale on the day and tree identification activities for children, and Petersfield Area Lichen Enthusiasts (PALE) conducted lichen trails, introducing visitors to a precious microscopic world we all take for granted. Fitzroy Rural Skills, based at The Sustainability Centre, provided information on the activities they offer for adults with learning disabilities, which include bushcraft, gardening, foraging and growing trees from seed.

Tree Festival Community Garden Tina Knowles Photography 3262

The Community Garden became a fantastic space for families, allowing children to explore nature by creating tree fairies from acorns and fir cones with flower petals for wings, making leaf rubbings, and creating shapes from bean seeds. There was also a Scavenger Trail of the whole site, with a series of clues and intriguing tree seeds to collect, which children were later invited to identify.

Ian Turner, Head of Major Tree Planting Projects (Southern Region) at The Tree Council, told Shine Radio that the festival was about “putting people and places and nature together” and that those buying trees were “investing in nature, in themselves and in their gardens, with a legacy of 30-40 years of the trees producing fruit for them”.

350 trees were distributed this November, with a second round of orders due to be opened in the new year, for collection in late February. Keep an eye on PeCAN’s social media and website for more information to follow. You can register your interest in fruit trees on the website to receive notifications, and explore the full range of PeCAN’s Nature Recovery projects.

Get more of a feel for the atmosphere on the day via this wonderful Shine Radio Growing Together podcast episode.

Images courtesy of Tina Knowles Photography

Petersfield tree festival