Where the Dog woods and the Haw thorns

Did you know that the Dogwood tree, or Cornus sanguinea as it’s known in Latin, played an important role in the textile industry? Or that Crataegus monogyna, the common Hawthorn, is also known as “Ske” in Old Irish, “Porn” in Old Norse and “Hag” in old English? No, neither did I until I visited Holbeck Cemetery to meet The Friends of Holbeck Cemetery, Holbeck in Bloom and Beeston in Bloom making history.

The groups have come together for the first time in their history to plant 105 hawthorn and dogwood trees as part of the Woodland Trust’s historical Jubilee Woods project. The trees are among 6 million that are to be planted in 2012 with the help of the Trust. Full details of how the trees were won can be found on the Friends of Holbeck Cemetary website.

“It’s great to put some colour in the community” said Pauline Hestlewood of Beeston in Bloom.

“You don’t always realise what you’ve got on your doorstep” said Dennis Kitchen of Holbeck in Bloom. “Holbeck is a historic and interesting site which we’re trying to protect and look after for the future”.

The heavy hard wood of the dogwood is tough and resistant to abrasion and becomes extremely smooth, which made it perfect for making shuttles for weaving. The Hawthorn has more connections with ancient beliefs and traditions than almost any other tree. The appearance of the May blossom is still the herald of the end of winter and the beginning of summer. Something I’m sure the volunteers who turned up on a soggy grey and cold November day to move the earth and plant these trees for future generations to enjoy will be looking forward to.

For me, it was great to see these groups coming together to benefit our community. If you’d like to find out more about what they do or even get involved yourself full details are available on their websites.


This article was written by, and photos taken by Tree Marshall using our Community Reporters website at www.communityreporters.sllife.leeds11.com

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