Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Planting for the future

I received an email a few months ago from BHS, my old school, regarding planting cedar trees. The school had been participating in Bermuda's 400th Celebration all last year (I can say that now that it is 2010!). One of their activities was to plant 400 Bermuda Cedar trees in commemoration of the Island's milestone. They very generously offered the opportunity to receive a cedar tree or an endemic plant to plant at home or a favourite spot in Bermuda. They asked only one thing in return - that a photo be taken of the recipients planting their tree. These trees do not look like much when they are babies. In fact they are unappealingly prickly and scraggy with dead looking bits all over them, especially after being pounded by the north westerly winds for 3 weeks straight (like ours have). But they grow into the most beautiful grand old trees and are such a signature silhouette that I feel like a local house is not a real Bermuda home without at least one growing old and twisty in the garden.

I happened to be planning Oslo's and Indigo's birthday parties when I received the email from BHS. Oslo's birthday is mid November, and since we had been on holiday and moving for Indigo's birthday in August, we realised we needed to quickly have her party first before her brother's rolled around. I will post more images than you care to see of each of their parties in due course, with abundant details on the themes, the cakes, and all the other homemade stuff, but suffice to say that I really wanted their celebrations to be "green" and so the idea of a cedar tree instead of a goody bag had already entered my head when BHS' cedar tree offer arrived.

BHS were thrilled when I told them my idea and very generously gave me permission to take as many cedars as we had children participating, on the condition that they all took pictures of their plantings. I have already received many great shots of fun spots where the trees have been planted, and am only just now getting around to processing and posting our own images. Would love to do another post later of all the different trees in their new homes so stay tuned.

The weather on the day of Indigo's party was glorious and the tree planting was a wonderful activity to incorporate into the day. We brought all the children and parents down to the spot we had chosen to place the trees and said a few words about what it means to us to plant a tree. Both Oslo and Indigo were so thrilled and proud to have a tree planted in their honour and they are right next to each other so it will be fun to watch them both grow.

At the children's Naming Cermonies when they were babies, we actually planted two cedars side by side at our last house, but we only learned about putting chicken manure in the hole when we planted Indigo's tree so even though hers was planted a year and a half after Oslo's, it flourished in a such a mad way that it shot up taller and bushier so it is a good thing we moved! Just a tip - get some chicken droppings before you plant your next tree, especially if it is a cedar!!

I adore adore these images of all the children's feet - it made it such a community effort - like they all had the power to make a change and they all felt that empowerment. Very moving.

Here is Ben explaining all about how great it is for the planet to plant a tree for those children who were not at Indigo's event a couple weeks earlier, but even the children who had seen it before were still excited, if not more so.

And below is a shot of the magic manure at the bottom of the hole that Ben and Oslo had dug earlier - good wholesome chicken poop!

And how I love that the children used their hands instead of their feet for this tree to pat down the earth. Real salt of the earth kids and different images to make a more interesting post!

I can't wait to take a photo every year of the kids standing next to their trees to see how much they have all grown.

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