The Ballabeg Planting 15/11/15

Muddy hands make light work copySometimes things conspire for the best… Wet land and water-loving trees. We had decided to plant 200 black poplars at the Trust’s field at Ballabeg. Why black poplars? Well, they are under threat. According to the The Forestry Commission, it is the most endangered timber tree in Britain. It has suffered from the lack of wetland areas, which have been progressively been drained over the last few hundred years. There may be fewer than 7,000 mature black poplars left in the UK.

Luckily, as our residents will know well, the Isle of Man can provide plenty of suitably wet sites! And in the days before our planting, we had a great deal of rain, so our presumptive planting site was thoroughly watered. Indeed the holes for our trees dug ahead of time by our mystery hole planter, Clive Martin, were full of water. The forecast for planting day was continuous rain and wind. We naturally feared we would have a difficult time. But we must be doing something right, as the rain and wind stopped shortly before we got going – and it was unseasonably warm, 13C. Our numbers were swelled by some of the enthusiastic staff of Nationwide, who had promised us 8 planters to help with the project. In the event, 10 of them appeared if we include the young! With a smattering of our regulars we had 18 planters in all.

With this number of helpers we decided we were able to put in 50 crab apples as well as the black poplars, though they needed holes to be dug for them. But digging holes and manoeuvring soil and trees in water-logged ground turned out to be so very easy that we planted 250 trees in under 50 minutes, or, for those who like rate measurements, one tree every 12 seconds! Well done, everybody!

And after we retreated drier than we could have imagined and feasted on Vivienne’s cakes and coffee or tea. A Good Day! And a big vote of thanks to our very hard-working and effective helpers from Nationwide.

Our next planting is at Crosby on Sunday November 29 at 11 a.m.

If you would like us to plant trees on your land, contact our organiser, Mrs Vivienne Barnett at or telephone at 843726.”

Best wishes,