“What have trees ever done for us?”

Pam’s winning competition entry

At our September meeting we welcomed back Dr Peter Thomas, Emeritus Reader in Plant Ecology at Keele University, to provide a surprisingly wide range of answers! He started with common words in our language (such as bachelor, Poet Laureate & baccalaureate all from the bay tree) then fruit including unusual tropical varieties, not just those we know and love. Next came nuts (we have new respect for cashews!) before he moved onto medicines such as aspirin and our general wellbeing, with hospital studies showing improved recovery rates in patients who can see trees and other fascinating medical facts, not forgetting poisons such as strychnine.

Then we had the benefits of how trees help combat climate change when they are mature – but being aware that planting them is not an instant fix – and not forgetting timber, with how forests are (or should be) managed to keep them carbon neutral. Peter is a very engaging speaker who shared his knowledge and passion for trees with a well-illustrated talk, and we discussed the possibility of a spring trip to see the Keele University collection of flowering cherries.  

Peter answering questions

Afterwards Peter drew the raffle and answered individual questions over refreshments. Recent weather affected the number of entries in the monthly competition for a vase of asters but Pam was a worthy winner as you can see from the photo. We’re now looking forward to our Garden and Home Produce Show on Saturday 16th which will have a post of its own, and we’re hoping for plenty of support for this which is our first one since 2019, normally an annual event until a certain pandemic intervened….