Forest of Dreams

Pine cone A true story of how a couple in their sixties planted their forest of dreams on a fifty acre site in Cornwall. On a shoe-string budget they began their venture with two spades, a wheelbarrow and a collection of trees which they had grown from seed gathered from parks and woods. Over ten years they nurtured and maintained the precious plantation, coping with a variety of environmental and climatic situations and unforeseen difficulties, and created a new young forest now visible on Google Earth.

Leaves Illustrated with colour photographs documenting the wood's progress from the first germinating acorns and pine seeds, FOREST OF DREAMS is packed with inspiration of interest to gardeners, tree lovers and conservationists. The story begins with the author's first experience of picking up a shiny conker from a city park and deciding to plant it, her sense of wonder as she watched it germinate and develop into a tree. Deeply effected by the death of the elm trees in the seventies, she pledged that every year, on her autumn birthday, she would plant a tree seed for each year of her life as a way of expressing gratitude for her country childhood. She planted acorns, beechnuts, walnuts, rowan berries and many others, filling her back yard with young trees in pots.

Bud Through the years of bringing up a family, the collection had to be moved several times and hundreds of specimens were donated to parks and conservation schemes. Eventually the couple achieved their dream of owning a plot of land and began to plan and plant, transforming fifty sterile acres into a wildlife paradise. The difficulties of maintaining the new wood are described with humour, and the author, who is also an artist and poet , shares her observation of detail such as the beauty of opening buds, the wild flowers, butterflies and birds of the wood.

Blossom What makes FOREST OF DREAMS unique is the way it is written as a biographical account of the actual experience of planting a wood, the hopes and dreams, the disasters and mistakes, the joy of seeing it grow and the final letting go and trusting that the young forest is strong enough to live forever.

The following poem will be included in FOREST OF DREAMS. It was inspired by my courageous husband, Ted, who had the vision and the courage to begin to plant a fifty acre wood.
to top...


The mist is freezing on his beard. He waits
and tensely watches. Will it be today?
Just him, and a robin, still at home,
the empty farmyard drifts with silent straw.
He see it coming fast along the lane,
a gleam of white that skims the hedges, stops.
A white delivery van. For him. Its turning in.
He hears it scorch the silence of the gravel.
Anticipation lights his ancient eyes,
big hands come out from pockets full of string.
The driver, stressed and young, slings wide the doors,
unloads with angry knuckles fifteen bags.
With fifteen thwacks he stacks them by the wall.
'Sign here.' The hands are clumsy now. He signs.
And, in a hail of grit, the white van leaves.

He bristles with excitement as he stares
and senses energy inside the bags.
With kitchen scissors trembling he cuts
the plastic, sees the stiff expectant life
tied up with crimson string in twenty-fives.
A thousand trees, his babies, have arrived.

And when he sees the tightly sleeping buds
so neatly braided up the straight young stems,
he wants to cry. In all his seventy years
he's never noticed winter's brightest gems,
the blue suede alder buds, the onyx ash,
the ruby buds of sycamore and lime.
He strokes their lustre with his thumb and feels
obedience in their sleep, a dream of leaves,
the murmur of maple and the singing pine
the ripple of aspen and the roar of oak.

Deep in the bag, disturbing smells of earth,
the bare roots tenderness, remembered pain.
He wonders, did they feel the slicing spade,
the bite of string, the plastic ? Did they mind ?
Or is their sleeping true oblivion,
a deep forgetting of identity ?
He reads the labels, feels the rhythmic grace,
musical passion of the Latin names:
Betula Pendula, Quercus Rubrum,
Fagus Sylvatica, Sorbus Aria.
And in that moment touches majesty,
a tree cathedral with a stained glass sky.

Wheelbarrow. Woolly hat. A well greased spade.
He chooses carefully with questing gaze,
turning the bags until he finds the tree
that marked the centre of the ancient world,
Fraxinus Excelsior, the common ash.
And like a father with a sleeping child
he lowers the bundle gently in his arms
and wheels it squeaking through the winter light
down to the meadow, empty now.
The robin flies beside him on the hedge.
'This is for you,' he calls to it, 'and them.'

All that he has been has no meaning now.
Mining engineer, pilot, lecturer,
musician, recovered alcoholic.
This, his greatest work, he does for them,
for robins, larks and linnets, and the song thrush,
for family who left him long ago.
His boots stand lonely in the misted grass.
He picks a sapling, holds it up for prayer,
its bare roots webbed against Aquarian light,
and, with the deepest reverence, he begins
to plant a forest.

to top...
Website design by