I am planning to devote the next few posts to trees in Ilford's Valentines Park. While obsessively photographing the nesting birds there- in particular the Grey Herons and Great Crested Grebes- I have also being taking numerous photos of the variety of trees there for this blog, but have not found time to post them.
Starting with the Oak Trees: I have mentioned previously that I used to live in Ilford for many years. I constantly pushed my then baby daughter round Valentines Park and showed her the Ducklings on the lakes. Later, when my mother came to live near us and she eventually grew infirm as she approached her hundredth birthday, I pushed her round the Park and showed her the Ducklings on the lakes...
A country woman as well as an artist, like me she had a passion for trees: this led me to pushing her close to certain trees so that she could touch them, in particular two Oak trees. I am quite sure this contact with these ancient trees was important to her well-being and gave her some sort of strength. Therefore the first two images I will show are of one of her favourite Oaks:
It is very worrying to hear that these wonderful, historical trees are now threatened with diseases that could destroy them throughout the Country, totally changing the landscape. There seem to be two of them: Acute Oak Decline (AOD) and Sudden Oak Death (which also effects Beech, Larch and Ash. AOD apparently causes native trees to bleed extensively, cutting off the supply of water and nutrients and killing them within a few years. Scientists are still researching its causes- already hundreds of trees in England and Wales have been affected by it. Sudden Oak Death was introduced from abroad to this country about ten years ago and has killed off many trees.
On a more cheerful note, here are some images of Oaks in Valentines Park that give me great visual pleasure, especially the patterns formed by their bark where branches once were: