One morning last week, I was disturbed by the sound of a chainsaw coming from one of the gardens that my balcony overlooks. I went to check what was going on and to my horror, found that a tall conifer was being sawn into pieces. The combination of the sound of the chainsaw as well as the thud of branches and logs crashing to the ground below made me very anxious and sad. In about 20 minutes it was over. Silence returned and all that remained of the tree was some scattered sawdust.
But this is not a sad tale about neighbours preferring a little more sunlight over a living tree. Coincidentally a few days later, I went to help at my local CSA where over the course of two days volunteers would help plant over 1000 trees that will grow into a thick hedge around the crops to protect them from the wind. It felt like a chance to set things right.
It’s impressive what a small group of people can achieve with team work, motivation and the right guidance. It was a cold Sunday morning, barely a few degrees above zero, but I had piled on lots of warm layers and working with our spade warmed us up immediately. We made precise trenches, digging out the compact clay. Then placed the trees twenty centimetres apart. We broke the clay soil into smaller chunks and after mixing it with rich compost distributed it around the roots. Finally we watered the trees and added a layer of mulch (steaming autumn leaves salvaged from a nearby golf-course) around their base.
There was a wonderful atmosphere, chatting about all sorts of things as we worked, and the sun even came out over the beds at the end of the afternoon. The trees may look a little underwhelming right now, but I am really grateful to have participated and cannot wait to see how the trees wake up in spring, growing together to protect the crops and create more bio-diversity.
We rounded the day off with some delicious glühwein whilst warming our cold fingers by the fire. Cycling on the way home, I was rewarded with a beautiful moody sky over the water.
Planting trees is a very effective way to combat climate change and it’s easy to contribute even if you don’t have a garden. Search for initiatives in your area to participate in person or donate to. If you are in Amsterdam, for example you can consider supporting this local food forest which is crowdfunding at the moment. Another easy thing to do is using Ecosia as your default search engine, so each time you satisfy your curiosity you’ll also contribute to planting trees. Feel free to add other initiatives you know of in the comments too!
Yesterday in between two rain showers I went for a quick wander to get some fresh air, and I came across these beautiful yellow flowers, a lone stem left on the sidewalk by some recycling bins. Sure, the leaves were a bit wilted, but apart from that the blooms were still in great shape. Look at that multitude of gorgeous, tiny petals! So I took them home and popped them into a small vase. I felt so lucky to have found them and it totally made my day:) They are the perfect splash of colour to lighten up the kitchen in these dreary winter evenings.
Nina sent me these pictures of her Peperomia happy bean which is thriving, along with it’s friend, a pepper plant that emerged spontaneously from the compost. The plants enjoy a lovely view of Amsterdam’s city lights!
Christmas cactus season is upon us again! Every year in December my Christmas cactuses start growing pink buds on the end of their leaves that grow slightly bigger each day… Then, usually just before Christmas, the flower blooms wildly, spreading its petals in all directions for a few days of extravagant beauty. It’s a nice touch of colour in these short winter days:)