Future wood

Static seeds, one day, released their potential

There’s a Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. And the second best time is now. Why wait?

Six years ago, we collected a pine cone hard as stone. There were no gaps or spaces between the folds of the cone and it sat heavy as a rock. But unlike a rock, this weight was full of promise. Full of trees.

This cone sat on a window sill for months, then for a year, then for another. It moved house, changed location, then took its place in a group of three cones on a plate painted with a sunflower. Silent, heavy, sleeping.

Three years passed and then it changed. The cone shifted in its woody way from stone to flower – unseen by our eyes, its fronds had opened like petals and released its seeds. Silent potential one step closer to their purpose of contributing to a woodland, a forest.

We gathered the seeds, put them in a film canister and popped them in the freezer. Into the deep cold of a long hard winter. Silent and still dormant.

Spring came and we thought it worth a try. We took the seeds from their artificial winter’s stasis and laid them in earth. The heat turned up with the month of May and the surround of a glass house. And we waited.

One, two, three small green curls beneath the earth at first. Then ten. And finally, more than eighty. Not all of them got through the perilous first year, but today our small future wood is 74 strong.

It’s not a miracle, it’s nature. But it feels like a miracle. And one that we’d like to build upon. These 74 baby trees have a future and we’re currently exploring what lies ahead for them, as individuals or in groups.

from stone to seed to earth to sprout to tree

If you would like to nurture one of these trees and have an idea for your own creative response, or you have a piece of land that you think some of these trees might call home, get in touch.

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