Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A virtuoso performance - Russell Miller at the Stephen Lawrence Centre

On a lovely autumn day in October, an enthusiastic group of some 60 tree enthusiasts from Lewisham and outlying areas gathered at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Brookmill Park, Deptford for an absolutely virtuoso lecture and guided talk by Russell Miller, a hugely experienced arboriculturalist and ecologist, Chair of the Ancient Tree Forum and coordinator of Tree Musketeers in Hackney.

In the light and airy setting of an upstairs room at the centre, Russell gave us a whistle-stop tour of the challenges facing trees planted in our streets, from the rigours of radiant heat traps, how to spot the signs of heat stress, effective watering regimes, the need to mulch and the pros and cons of tree supports, to name but a few of the topics he covered with such aplomb. 

After a delicious lunch, we decamped to the adjacent Brookmill Park and spent an absolutely fascinating hour or so being educated and entertained as Russell demonstrated why he is such an in-demand speaker and educator. His knowledge about the trees species in the park (and associated fauna) was absolutely breath-taking. He fielded all our many questions about the humble London Plane, Copper Beech, Alder, Poplar and two kinds of conifer (which I forget the names of!) and left us wanting to keep him there for as long as possible!

Here, Russell is showing us the tell-tale gall formed by 
nymphs of the Poplar petiole gall aphid, Pemphigus populitranversus
It was a fitting end of year event to mark yet another busy and productive year for Street Trees for Living. This planting season we will be planting a further 200+ street trees across the borough, each with their own guardian/sponsor charged with getting them through those first two critical years after planting. Another development is the very welcome contact and collaboration with other individuals and organisations wanting to learn from our example. New significant contacts include Margate and Thanet, both wanting us to share our methods and learning.

Our gratitude to all the staff of the Stephen Lawrence Centre for their generous help and support in making this event such a success. 

Monday, 3 September 2018

RESERVE NOW! - Special lunch event at Stephen Lawrence Centre SE8 - OCTOBER 7TH

Street Trees for Living invites you to a simple and delicious lunch, with wine, from 11am - 2pm on Sunday 7th October in the reopened Stephen Lawrence Centre in Brookmill Park, Deptford, SE8 4HU.

This is an iconic building which goes beautifully with its tree-filled surroundings. It was designed by David Adjaye architects, and incorporates patterned glass by Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili.

Click here for more pictures, or here for the architect's description. 

We are very pleased to announce that RUSSELL MILLER will be present. He is an experienced arboriculturalist and ecologist, Chair of the Ancient Tree Forum and coordinator of Tree Musketeers in Hackney. He will share his expertise in the following sessions:
  • Young Tree Aftercare - basic tree physiology, common problems with tree establishment, how to recognise them, and what to do about them
  • Everything or Anything You Wanted to Know About Trees (but had no one to ask)
  • Tree & Ecology Walkabout - looking at trees and associated species in the local park - and in case of bad weather, a presentation on Ancient Trees or tree ecology - to be confirmed
The event will be for limited numbers. Tickets at £10 per person may be reserved here.  

As ever thank you very much for your support.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Watering emergency! What you can do


Some of our street trees are in danger. If you notice any that you think need watering, please let us know straight away at info@streettreesforliving.com.

We sent a reminder last week to our guardians and supporters, but it may be useful to anyone responsible for the life of trees below five years old (we have actually lost some of our older trees as their root systems are still immature). 

Young trees need water TWO OR THREE times a week in the current hot weather. 
20 MEASURED LITRES in one hit is ideal. 

Calendars and phone reminders might help to create a routine. Please note in particular that watering is necessary whatever the weather – rain runs straight off the pavement. 

More about watering is on our website here

Thank you for your time and attention. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Deadline approaching for 2018/19 planting - SUNDAY 1st JULY


Please note this deadline for requests to plant street trees in the coming winter 2018/19, anywhere in the borough of Lewisham. To avoid disappointment please register your interest here before the date OR get in touch immediately by email at

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Our first AGM with guest speaker Paul Wood

Last Sunday Street Trees for Living held its first AGM at the Telegraph Hill Centre. The formalities included a Chair’s report that took listeners on a whirlwind tour of the last seven years of the campaign and an imagined future. The committee will post details shortly.

The main attraction of the meeting was a hugely enjoyable illustrated talk by Paul Wood, author of London’s Street Trees, a Guide to the Urban Forest.

It will not be practical to repeat here the many ideas presented to us, but Paul reminded us how London was a blank canvas for street trees only a short time ago. 

He showed us evidence of visionary, if rather surprising, planting over a century ago (most of these trees in the picture below are no longer there - they are London Plane trees and planted much too closely to each other given their mature height and spread). 

Winderemere Road, Muswell Hill
... and reminded us about Councillor Ada Salter who planted over 7,000 trees in 1930s Bermondsey  -

Ada Salter's statue near The Angel pub on the
embankment in Bermondsey
He drew attention to the large range of species available for planting as street trees –

Kousa dogwood Cornus kousa, in West London

Golden Rain tree, koelreuteria paniculata in North London
This was not a prescriptive talk, but Paul urged care in combining species. He offered the view that planned biodiversity works fine across a range of streets, but needs to be considered carefully within just one street, and especially when the architecture of the street is homogeneous. This theme was taken up in the question and answer session. A local resident questioned the new species choice where a tree had been lost from a row of planes in the immediate vicinity of Telegraph Hill. 

There were many more questions than there was time for, and many more buyers for signed copies of his book than available, but Paul can be contacted on his website: https://thestreettree.com/  


++ Paul also asked us to draw attention to the website of the urban tree festival https://urbantreefestival.org/ and its crowd-funding page. This will be live for the next few weeks:  https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/urban-tree-festival ++

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Brockley station planting - a new chapter

It's happened! Last Monday, in a flurry of planting, our choice of trees were planted and now adorn the public realm around Brockley Station, on both the Coulgate and Mantle Road/St Norbert Road sides.

Italian Cypress going in (Cupressus sempervirens)

Having had a rather lively debate amongst ourselves about the relative merits of this or that species, we have tried to do something a little different, particularly around Brockley Common, the green space that falls away from Brockley Station down to Coulgate Street.

In go the Persian Silk Trees 

In total, 16 trees have been planted either side of the tracks, almost all funded by Greater London Assembly (GLA) money (and one private sponsor - for which, Many thanks). 

On the Coulgate side we have planted three Persian Silk Trees (Albizia julibrissin f. rosea) at pavement level, four small leaved limes (Tilia Cordata Winter Orange) at the highest level of the Common, and three Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) in the lowest level (to be supplemented by two further of the same once we have funding). At the far end of the common, where the vegetable patch used to be, we have planted one of our most favourite trees, an English Oak (Quercus robur). 

A mature Persian Silk Tree in flower (which are delightfully scented)
The feathery flowers of the Persian Silk Tree
In Mantle Road and St Norbert Road we have planted a total of four Hibiscus x resi (sometimes known as the Rose of Sharon) - small attractive flowering trees, and one Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus fastigiata), another of our favourites. 

We are delighted that John Stainer Primary School and pretty much every business on both sides of the station are supporting the planting. Browns of Brockley, Parlez, Noak, Conran Estates and Selencky Parsons Architects have already made a commitment to water the new trees for their first two years. This is a tangible and incredibly valuable contribution to the success of these new plantings and we are hugely grateful to them.