Trees are such a deep part of our psyche. From a young age, we discover trees through inquisitive minds wanting to climb their branches to test our weight and bodies agility, as well as the quest for discovery to get to the top for a 360 degree view of our world.
Trees hold a deep-seated history as part of children’s literature where magic leapt from the pages at bedtime as parents read from Enid Blyton’s classic The Magic Faraway Tree.
As we age, we discover trees are not only for climbing challenges and magical tales, but also for so many life sustaining properties such as food, shade, shelter and oxygen. But they never do lose that magic resonance and catalysts for childlike wonder. As an organic gardener, trees to me represent microclimates and compost fodder. Humans often look at the trees, observing the structure, the shape, the bark but sometimes forget the importance of their leaves falling to the ground and their association with natural compost.
On a forest the forest floor, in between the trees, all kinds of organic matter falls from the trees or inhabitants of the trees like birds, mammals, insects etc who eventually die and return to the earth are buried there. Over time, these items rot over that forest floor, and mix together to decompose naturally to make nutrient dense soil which new plants can grow in. This is because compost is very rich in nitrogen and other nutrients which plants need to thrive.
Home composting replicates exactly what happens in the natural world, such as a forest floor where plants, leaves and animals die, fall to the ground to decompose and add organic product to the earth. So I view trees as marvelous magical additions to the garden, as they not only buffer the winds to protect my fruit, veggies and flowers as well as shade them over very hot Summers, but they also shed their marvelous leaves which create carbon rich decomposing organics which eventually feed my plants via my homemade compost. A truly marvelous cycle of life.
Words by Lou from Hey Hoe Let’s Grow.