Tree Dressing Day in Mayow Park Community Orchard
Event Date: 04 Dec 2016
Head along to Sydenham’s Mayow Park Community Orchard on Sunday 4th December for a winter orchard celebration and dress a tree for Tree Dressing Day!
Tree Dressing Day, initiated by Common Ground in 1990 and held in the UK during the first week of December, is based on customs from all over the world, including an old Celtic custom of tying cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a tree and the practice in Japan of decorating trees with strips of white paper, or tanzaku, bearing wishes and poems.
The day aims to highlight our responsibility for looking after trees and reminds us of their enormous cultural, spiritual and environmental importance. It is fast becoming recognised as an annual opportunity to celebrate trees in the UK.
Mayow Park’s community orchard, which was established in January 2012, and expanded in early 2016 with the help of Helping Britain Blossom, is one of a number of community orchards across London for local communities to manage, enjoy and use, bringing people together to create green spaces and build healthier, happier and more sustainable communities.
Located within the 17-acre Mayow Park, Lewisham borough’s oldest municipal park, the orchard is maintained by the community for the community, overseen by the Friends of Mayow Park, an 8-strong team of volunteers from the local area.
Alona Sheridan is the chair of the group and an Orchard Leader for the Mayow Park Community Orchard. Alona is also a Helping Britain Blossom Orchard Mentor, which enables her to share her knowledge and experience to train others on the necessary skills required to set up and maintain an orchard.
Alona told us why Mayow Park Community Orchard are holding a Tree Dressing celebration:
“Tree Dressing Day is an opportunity for us, as a community, to appreciate the trees we have and the benefits they bring to all of us. It’s our chance to say thank you to our leafy friends. Our own community orchard with its 18 fruit trees helps bring people together from all walks of life, encourages them to be outdoors enjoying nature, teaches them new skills and provides free fruit to pick, eat and cook. As well as having fun on the day, we’d love to get more people involved in the orchard’s care and upkeep and we hope the tree dressing event will encourage them to do so, not just this year but for years to come.”
Ryan O’Kane from The Orchard Project and Helping Britain Blossom’s project manager for London adds:
“Like all community orchards, Mayow Park Community Orchard is a real asset to the local area and the Friends are very proactive in organising events such as this winter orchard celebration to encourage more people to get involved and reap the benefits. With their ongoing support and that of Helping Britain Blossom we are looking forward to welcoming the next generation of orchard lovers who will nurture it and see it thrive for years to come.”
The Friends of Mayow Park who have organised the event are inviting locals from Sydenham and Forest Hill to come along between 10am and 12.30pm to join in the celebrations, which as well as tree dressing will include storytelling, craft activities and a winter sing-a-long.
If you’d like to get involved or find out more about the Mayow Park Community Orchard you can follow their blog here.