It’s good to be back, after a year’s break, with a spot of tree following. First things first, if you’d like to find some other tree following posts, click on the picture below. Now to the task in hand: finding a suitable candidate.
Choosing a tree
To find my tree I headed over to our local greensward: Rookery Park. Having left at the crack of dawn, I managed, by chance, to time it so there was just enough daylight on my arrival to take some photos. I paid my respects to Felix the Magnolia, a previous tree following subject who was rather ruthlessly removed during the renovation of Rookery House. Whilst the house is looking nice, as far as I’m concerned there is a Felix-shaped hole along the frontage.
Rookery Park has a sort of faded grandeur that rather appeals to me. From a horticultural point of view, it is a little neglected: maintained but not loved in the words of my more literate better half. Despite this, the park is kept clean and tidy and it’s well used by a diverse range of people.
As I perambulated with intent, it occurred to me that the lime tree avenues that line the paths within the park typify the stateliness-in-decline that I mentioned above. I decided to follow these avenues (figuratively and literally) as a whole rather than an individual tree. Is this a cop out? Yes. Hopefully you’ll deem it acceptable.
Rookery Park was opened to the public in the 1890s, when Rookery House was bought to be used as Erdington’s council house. I don’t know when the lime avenues would have been planted – I’ll endeavour to find out – but I would assume that it was after this time.
One notable feature of the main avenue is the artwork/vandalism that adorns these venerable trees. It’s a little ghoulish for my tastes, but I do like the creative vision. Rather than scribble on a wall somewhere, the artist-vandal has chosen a canvas that is living and changing to express their innermost thoughts. Quite possibly rather disturbed thoughts. Another feature of their efforts is that the pictures are only on one side of the trees. One could walk around the park every day for a year and never notice them, if one were walking clockwise. Hopefully over the course of our year following these trees we’ll be able to have a closer look at the faces.
Of course, to focus on the graffiti entirely would be to neglect the magnificent trees that are the real concern here, but more on that next month.
In the mean time, how to approach the naming of the trees? Should I name each individual tree? Should I assign names to only the faced/defaced trees? Perhaps I need a collective noun (one that adds more personality than merely ‘avenue’). Suggestions welcome. Thanks for reading, stay in touch, and please head over to SquirrelBasket to read some more tree following posts.