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Naming trees – Making signs

Christmas, the dark and wet weather, adjusting to home schooling again…they’ve all knocked my blog writing mojo over the last month. However, Saskia and I finished up a mini project today that I feel very proud of so I’m going to kick off my 2021 blog writing finally by telling you about it.

We made tree names – signs to name the trees that is.

For a while I’ve been mulling over the idea of making signs to name the trees and the plants that we’re getting to know around the garden. Some we’ve inherited and have gradually been identifying, others we’ve chosen and planted ourselves, but it’s still easy to forget which is which. It’s a good way of sharing them with visitors too.

I am a words person. I love words, I relate to them, they help me connect with things. And for me to really get to know and understand the plants and trees I am custodian of, I need to start by being able to call them by their name – like we would with a person we want to get to know. Starting with remembering a person’s name is fundamental. Increasingly, I’m getting familiar with Latin names too – which is fun – triggering millions of little memory neurones to my fragments of French and Spanish.

Also, as expressed through my life in teaching, I love the process of learning, and what better way to learn than to make something with the words I want to remember, and then have that thing I’ve made be there for me to see every day as a regular visual reminder. Not just for me – for my co-maker Saskia too, and all our family, friends and everyone who visits.

We put the Latin names on the back so there can be a quiz dimension too! It just keeps getting better doesn’t it? I know all the trees we’ve done, but I don’t know all the Latin names yet. Oh what fun times of tree geekery I have in store!

Actually do you fancy a quiz? Here’s one for you….

What are the English common names that match these Latin names?

  1. Taxus baccata

  2. Fraxinus excelsior

  3. Salix caprea

  4. Sorbus aucuparia

  5. Carpinus betulus

Answers at the bottom of the post. How did you do?

The other information we put on was the year of planting, for those trees that we’ve planted ourselves – ’18, ’19 or ’20.

There are loads that we haven’t done. This was just a fun thing to try out, and we did as many as we had pieces of slate – 20 altogether. Maybe we’ll try some more on stones, or on wood, on another day.

Quiz answers

  1. Yew

  2. Ash

  3. Goat willow

  4. Rowan

  5. Hornbeam

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