Over the Summer months the main focus of the restoration has been on the nave and the ground which runs either side of the central aisle. When the Cathedral was laid in 1921 this was planted with a mix of heaths to give the effect of a mosaic floor. Over the years these became straggly and untidy and were replaced by mown grass which, in the shady and boggy conditions was soon overrun with moss and weeds. With the light and drainage now improved, we have introduced a more natural mosaic with a mix of flowers and grasses. This not only provides colour and interest throughout the growing season but also encourages pollinators and generally enriches the local bio-diversity (a core aim of the Cathedral of Trees charity). Our first season of ‘re-wilding’ has brought many rewards and surprises as well as evidence of insects and other wildlife returning to the area. (Red squirrel spotted on 17th October – too quick for the camera!)
Work has also taken place in the Cloisters. For many years this area sat in the shade of the surrounding woodlands and the ground became boggy and sour, adversely affecting the trees and hedges. Now that the surrounding conifers have been felled, the dead trees and plants removed and the drainage improved, new life and light has once more returned. This gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the space, giving it a more open feel and resetting the grave stones around the central urn.
With the coming of Autumn, the planting season begins – spring bulbs and… trees. It was an important moment when we put in eight Irish yews and restored the line of columns either side of the central aisle, always a signature feature of the Cathedral of trees. We managed to get some great specimens – grown in Scotland and supplied by Dam Nurseries, near Edinburgh. We look forward to seeing these young boys grow into the size of their near neighbours. It will take a while!
New trees have also been planted in the Cloisters. This time - a circle of cut leaf alders, supplied to us by Trees Online and especially chosen for their delicate appearance and love of wet ground. There is more work to be done in this area but we hope that visitors will find a fresh tranquillity within this newly created Peace Garden.
Again, our thanks to Ian McCuish and team for carrying out all the landscaping work over the year.