Thursday, 22 December 2016

Talking Trees at Number 57

It's late we know, but we didn't want the year to end without mention of a rather understated, but really rather wonderful evening hosted by our friend Mary McGeown, the owner of Number 57 on Loampit Hill. 

On Sunday 30th October, a group of us gathered in the beautiful space shared with L'Oculto Wine & Tapas Bar (who provided us with delicious plates of tapas, and a glass of wine, included in the ticket price) to hear spontaneous, unscripted, real-life 5 minute stories about trees, and the myriad and mysterious ways that they inspire us. 

The occasion was also an opportunity for artist Isobel Kimberly to display a selection of drawings featuring trees, one of which featured on our flier:

The stories ranged from dark encounters with wild beasts in Kentish woods, to the blazingly bright memories of thorn trees from a childhood in South Africa, to wistful and poetic musings on family trees and waxing and waning relationships ... And as if that wasn't enough, the assembled throng helped swell our coffers by nearly £300! 

Our grateful thanks to Mary, the team at L'Oculto, Isobel, and all our contributors; it was a night to remember. 

Mary gets the evening underway
Stanley Silva - our brilliant compere

Ana and Teresa from L'Oculto

India shows us how it's done!

Well, here's an end of year good news story (and my word, do we need more of them!) ...

In Uttar Pradesh, India, activists have planted almost 50 million trees in just 24 hours! We thought this was some sort of crazed exaggeration when we first read it, but no — it happened on July 11 and took 800,000 people. It was part of a pledge the country made at the 2015 climate change summit in Paris to increase its forest cover by 235m acres by 2030. 

The Indian government has put aside £5bn to plant trees all over India to combat air pollution.

For full story, go here

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Labelling the legacy

During the summer readers may have noticed the appearance of new dark green labels on more than one hundred trees planted in and around Brockley since 2012. 

The labels are one of the Tree Committee’s initiatives to publicise the scheme, delivered in partnership with Lewisham Council. In this era of desperately tight budgets, the council has been a willing partner in an initiative to build on the green legacy of a more affluent time. We enjoy over 10,000 trees on Lewisham streets but according to the council's own records, there are around 2,000 unused pits, and countless potential planting sites. All await trees!

For this winter's planting, we have raised money for dozens of individual trees, and we have agreement in principle for several larger schemes. Please watch this space!

In appreciation of sponsorship so far, and to alert readers to the possibility, the Tree Committee wants to remind readers that all planting is the result of local fundraising efforts and generosity. Brockley is incredibly lucky in this regard, and with your help will continue to be so. Private residents, businesses and local assembly members have all given time and energy and funds to enable the planting. Equally important, the scheme has benefitted from regular and practical help. For every tree, Brockley Society works with a local volunteer willing to water the tree for its first two years.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Tree Committee's work recognised by Forestry Commission

Last Thursday we were very proud winners of one of the annual awards that the Forestry Commission makes ...
  •  To celebrate the work of individuals, communities and professionals to protect, improve and expand the capital's tree and woodland cover
  • To inspire others to manage their trees and woodland
  • To raise the profile of London’s trees / woodlands and the need for management

We were nominated for the Community Tree Award by our friends and colleagues in Lewisham Council's Green Scene department for 'tree projects that have been inspired, driven, and delivered by local community groups'.  

The awards were held at City Hall on the 9th floor known as "London's Living Room", and presented by Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission: 

And here we are on the podium: 

Special mention to Dom (our amazingly hard-working Administrator) centre, holding the award certificate, and Anthony and Nicola (below), founding members of Brockley Society Tree Committee. Not pictured is our colleague Rick Farr, Tree Officer representing Green Scene who we managed to lose between the announcement and the photograph on the podium. Sorry Rick!

Full details of the awards and the other successful projects/individuals click the link here.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Where there's a will ...

Some of you will remember the persistent vandalism that was visited on a particular street tree at the Hilly Fields end of Tyrwhitt Road in the spring of 2013 when a newly planted cherry was destroyed not once, but twice (see 

The replacement we planted has now been left to grow unmolested for a few years and this is the happy result: 

This year (2015/16), Brockley Society raised funds for nearly sixty trees in and around Brockley, most of which have now been planted. Send us your own photos!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Hither Green Trees project at the 2016 Hither Green Festival

Our fellow tree enthusiast and collaborator Justin Hannemann, whose own street tree regeneration project is now up and running - see: - will be hosting a stall at the 2016 Hither Green Festival on the opening day, Saturday May 14th. 

Come along to hear about the drive to replace lost street trees and to show your support for re-greening the streets of Hither Green - and beyond. 

Justin can be contacted via email at justin (dot) hannemann (at) google (dot) com or via his Twitter account @JustinHannemann . Details about the Hither Green festival can be found on their Facebook page or here on the Hither Green Community website:

The Breakfast Club (that's not a club)

BrocSoc Tree Committee held the fourth of its "Tree Breakfasts" last weekend, in the Artspace at 57 Loampit Hill by kind offer of the owner Mary McGeown. Wonderful pastries were offered again, donated by Pistachios CafĂ© in Hilly Fields. 

These "Tree Breakfasts" are meetings, by invitation only, of those who are able to offer time and energy to help with our aim to increase the numbers of trees, and most especially trees in public space, in Lewisham.

Yes, trees in public space in Lewisham, not just Brockley.

Fifteen people from inside and outside the ward, united by a wish to promote such planting, met once again for inspiration and mutual support, to discuss the efforts of individuals, and to ensure that they are unduplicated and part of a wider plan. 

To date the Tree Committee has concentrated on conservation, building a partnership with council Tree Officers, and private fund-raising. Now, the combined energy and ideas at these new, wider meetings have resulted in ambitious aims to engage with policy-makers in the borough. The hope is to influence council policy, as it affects planning, planting vision, publicity, and of course the sponsorship scheme itself. All this now feels like a realistic prospect. The committee now works with, among others, an arboriculturist, a transport planner, and an IT expert. Its work and its ambitions have now been taken well outside Brockley itself, to include the whole borough. 

Wherever you live, if you have time and energy to join us in what we are doing, or simply want to learn more, please get in touch.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Tree Enthusiast gathering - Spring 2016

Another successful gathering of local (and no so local) residents (old and new) who are interested in what we are doing and getting more street trees planted in the borough. 

The upstairs room at The Talbot was again looking delightful as we discussed our project, our aims and our ambitions, and fielded questions from people who ranged from the complete novice to very much the expert (a very welcome new resident with a wealth of knowledge about tree species). 

We were delighted to welcome Harry Carnegie to the meeting to talk about his project in Catford/Rushey Green and to hear more about the superb map he is making available showing of all public space trees across the entire borough courtesy of a dataset maintained by the Tree Officers at Green Scene. We really do encourage you to go and have a look at Harry's site and map (see the "Lewisham Borough Tree Map" tab above) and see what he has been doing with the data. It's really impressive. 

If you would like to get involved please get in touch using the "Contacts" tab above, or come along to the next Tree Enthusiast Event which will be posted on the blog in due course. 

... and the important stuff - Sunday morning coffee & cake!
Again, our thanks to the staff at The Talbot for their friendly support and to Kara for the delicious cakes she bakes for us.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Community organisation - Basic Tree Care

Earlier this week, Rick Farr, Tree Officer with Lewisham Council's Green Scene gave the first of a series of lessons to members of the local community involved in the care and maintenance of our burgeoning stock of newly planted street trees. 

Rick talking to our volunteers on Hilly Fields

Our trained volunteers are either members of the Brockley Society Tree Committee or interested enthusiasts who will be the first port of call for anyone concerned about Brockley's newly-planted trees.

This is the first in a series of new initiatives that have come out of our regular Breakfast Club meetings and we hope to be letting you know about others in the coming weeks and months. If you are interested in volunteering your services, please do get in touch using the "Contact us" tab above.