I wonder how many…

… people were working in their gardens last Saturday just before noon. I also wonder how many were out in the rain planting trees in gardens, parks, schools and woodlands last Saturday just before noon.

Oh, but… I really wonder how many trees were planted both in the UK and outside in the exact same hour (between 11am-12 noon GMT on December 5th 2009). I wonder… if a world record was ‘planted’!

Now… have you heard of the expression ‘best laid plans’? Well, that about sums up my contribution… read on for my story! However, if you did successfully take part here’s what you should do next…

Tree O’Clock was an event organised by BBC Breathing Places here in the UK. In order to determine that a world record has taken place ‘proof of planting’ is now required. If you have taken part do remember that there is a deadline of noon on Friday 11th December for adding your tree/s. Some records are already in… Congratulations Northern Ireland!

In one email, you are asked to tell the organisers how many trees you planted and what type/s they were. You are asked to provide a full postal address and postcode of the place of planting. Finally, most importantly, you are asked to attach one photo of your tree/s to your email. You can find a link to preformatted and addressed email here. Scroll down to the ‘Proving’ section.

So what happened in my garden? Well, everything was in order. Sapling collected… tick. Photo of garden centre crate for posting… tick. Posting published to support the event with event links… tick. Planting spot picked out in the garden… tick. Thursday night…. time slot for Saturday clear. Friday morning… time slot for Saturday gone. Plan 2 went into action.

Plan 2 was to be a first for my garden… I was going to plant by proxy… my husband was going to plant his very first plant while I was out. The plan was he would mail photos to my phone so I could see how it was going. I really liked this idea for my contribution.

To cut a long story short, my plans changed. I didn’t go out… until I discovered I didn’t know what tree my sapling would grow into. Plan 3 was a very quick dash to a garden centre. We arrived to a brass band playing Christmas Carols… but there was no time to stop and listen.

A Hawthorn was the tree we quickly searched for. It was 11.10am now. There were three to choose from and I picked the one I guessed would be the largest I could get in my car. Negotiating the tree through the garden centre with doorways and people was tricky in a hurry… especially on a Saturday morning a few weeks from Christmas!

Getting the tree into the car wasn’t straight forward either as seats etc needed to be rearranged at speed. The clock was ticking all the while. My daughter was with me and was now questioning if there was time to plant it when we got back. I was ever optimistic… but knew it would be tight.

We were just a street away from home when we came to a stop with a learner driver slowly manoeuvring… in reverse towards us! It was 11.45 now. Fifteen minutes to plant my tree was going to be very tight.

Back in my driveway the tree came out of the car more easily then it went in. Next… a quick dash inside to get my camera, coat and a key to my shed for tools. I quickly picked up a half bag of garden soil on the way to my planned planting spot.

My tree was going in an area that had a gravel mulch. A quick rake back of the gravel revealed dryer soil even though it was raining. Although I took out a spade it wasn’t necessary for me to use it for digging a hole. Instead I intended using it to dig up a pot of bamboo that had been sunk into the border to keep the roots from becoming invasive.

With a hand fork I broke up the bottom and sides of the hole to give the roots of my new Hawthorn tree a better start. This tree fitted perfectly into the hole with space around it. Now… in my hurry I almost forgot to take photos! I was also worried about using a camera in the rain and you can see raindrops in some of my rushed photos. All the time I was running back and forth between planting and taking photos I kept an eye on my watch… and the time.

11.54am… my tree was in the ground! Soil was quickly poured on top. I lost some soil when I tipped the pot to get the tree through a door at the Garden Centre. The extra soil in the hole was pushed gently, but firmly, down into the gap between plant and planting hole…. a quick dash for another photo!

Gravel raked back, tools moved out of the way and at 11.58am the job was done with a photo showing how this new tree fits into my garden. Phew!! I actually made it in time. I was delighted.

So I did it… yes? Not quite. After a quick run out in the rain to see my planting I showed my OH my photos. Before he even uttered the words… I guessed what he was going to ask. I put my head in my hands. I meant to check this too. I looked down at my photo in the viewing window with him. We looked for the time… it read 1 hour later than it was!! My proof of planting wasn’t valid.

Okay, so Tree O’Clock won’t be receiving an email from me by Friday with an attached photo and I can’t claim to be part of this tree planting record attempt… although I was. However, my garden is a Hawthorn richer and I’ll look forward to seeing it with blossom next Spring. In future years insects on it may help support chicks in my nestboxes too.

I could consider this Hawthorn as my Christmas tree for this year too but I already had another living tree planned for decoration in my garden. Later in the afternoon the rain stopped and I went out into the garden once again… this time with a box of silver baubles. It wasn’t Christmas Carols from a Brass Band I was entertained with then. Nope… it was Christmas Chatter courtesy of House Sparrows and friends!

The arrow in the photo above indicates where my Hawthorn was planted and you can just about see the network of trees birds have in my garden.

As my back was turned and I went up and down my small ladder House Sparrows went out and in my hedge to a bird table. What a chattering they did as you can hear in the video below. It was taken around 3.45pm and the sound was almost deafening. It could stop so quickly too when I made a noise with my ladder. Their silence didn’t last long though!

Perhaps the chattering birds were preparing to roost early for the night as it was getting dark. They continued chattering as I went inside. I found myself thinking that in future years they will bounce around the branches of my newly planted Hawthorn. Although my planting was a tad rushed it was still fun and…. I always enjoy a challenge anyway.

Now a bigger challenge is when I say ‘to cut a long story short’… I keep too it!!

The tree planting photos above were taken in my garden between 11.50-11.58am on December 5th 2009. The pine tree with silver baubles and the video were taken at around 3.45pm on December 5th 2009. It was a dark day and the camera (set to auto) used a flash.

8 thoughts on “I wonder how many…

  1. Wel done! Reading through your post I didn't think you were going to make it 🙂

    I hope they do it next year as I was out of town this time. In fact I only new about the event through your blog.

  2. Aw, Shirl. The best laid plans….. All that planning and rushing around. You did get the tree planted though. I wonder if they would accept the photo if you added a note to say the camera was set permanently on BST.

    I though my House Sparrows were noisy enough 😉

  3. Oh, Shirl!!!! never mind eh? You've a lovely new tree that will look really good against the dark green hedge – pretty May blossom, bright green leaves, blood red Haws, subtle yellow-ochre Autumn leaves – and of course the birds will love it too.


  4. Hi again Mosura, yes, it was a close run thing hence the story telling style 🙂

    I have no idea if they are planning a repeat record attempt. Perhaps they wouldn’t get so many taking part if it was yearly. If they tried for a record every second year that might work 🙂

    I’m delighted you discovered this event through my blog and I did consider an earlier posting but chose to go closer to the time. I’ll bear this in mind for future event postings perhaps with an earlier posting and then a reminder closer to the time.

    Just had a quick browse at your blog…. love the series of coot shots. Great action captures. You have some great photos 😀

  5. Hi there John, yep… that’s the way it goes! On the positive side my garden now has a tree that it didn’t have before… and I’ve still a mystery sapling to plant which will probably go in a pot for now.

    I did consider just sending my photo but then thought of the work behind checking all the photos. Ultimately I knew my photo wasn’t valid. I accept that 🙂

    LOL… I don’t know what volume you listened to my ‘hedge chattering’ at but it was really, really loud. I did wonder just how many were in their making this noise… probably less than you’d think 😀

    I like the shrub you planted on Saturday. I’m drawn to plants with berries now too. Your hazel tells a story doesn’t it. You’ll have to come back to this posting next year and see how this compares.

    One of the reasons I chose a Hawthorn was that it was listed a few years ago by Breathing Places as one of the ‘first signs of Spring’ in a survey they were doing and I could never make comment on it. Now I can. I wonder what they’d make of your hazel. I’m guessing you won’t be the only garden with this.

    Great to see your finches back at the feeders. Here’s hoping the tricho stays away for a while anyway. It must be in your area now so I guess you know to expect it back 🙁

  6. Hi there Celia, exactly! I had fun trying and it’s been a while since I’ve planting a tree in my garden…. I’m running out of space. I need my strip of lawn to balance the dense planting to the left of it. It's also a great spot for putting up a tent 😉

    Thanks, I’m looking forward to this tree next Spring even more. To its right, planted in my lawn, I have a large clump of mixed spring bulbs 😀

    This rather wasted corner of my garden that has great Spring interest now…. it was previously a barked area and had a slide on it for my daughters. I little wooden playhouse originally stood where my arbour does now 🙂

  7. Hi Shirl,

    Sorry to hear your plans didn't quite work out, but as you said at least you did actually get a tree planted and that is, after all what it was all about!

    It would be interesting to see how many people did participate! Personally I didn't, as I didn't realise the trees were free… Although I do have a small Fuji cherry which needs planting, I really ought to have planted that in the ground… Hmmmm whoops.

  8. Well they say that the camera never lies but it did in this case Shirl 🙁 Himself's camera always displays not only the wrong time but the wrong date as well. Must work out how to cure this problem sometime. We were one hour into a long train journey at the time so sadly I could not participate.

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