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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

Unusual & Old
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Tree Project.

Hawthorn – Crataegus.

According to old English beliefs it is considered bad luck to cut down a Hawthorn Tree and indeed they are considered sacred in Celtic mythology. Although only a small tree growing to a mere 15-30 feet, the Hawthorn can easily live up to 200 years, but can live up to 400 years. There are over 1000 varieties grown across much of the World for various purposes, but here in the UK it is traditionally used in hedging where its thorny growth make an impenetrable thicket for keeping in animals when repeatedly cut either by hand or machinery.
Although it is a tough tree regenerating from almost any amount of damage, it is susceptible to a number of problems including, apple scab, fire blight and rust to name but a few. However, it will grow just about anywhere - in part shade, poor soil, dry soil and even in exposed sites.
Being a Native tree our Wildlife has come to make it a popular food plant for a number of species including the caterpillars of a number of moths and birds love to eat its nutritious, bright red berries, in the autumn.

Driving along many roads you will often see a blaze of white flowers covering the hedges in late spring and that is generally, the white flowers of Hawthorn. Normally, the flowers are considered the herald of better weather and a sign that colder weather is diminishing. Sometimes called May instead of Hawthorn this gives some credence to the old saying that you should “Ne’er Cast A Clout ‘Till May Is Out,” meaning don’t cultivate your soil until the Hawthorn has flowered. The flowers of Hawthorn are usually white, but there are some red flowered varieties available one of which is “Crataegus Paul’s Scarlet,” which makes it quite an appealing and attractive little tree to grow in your garden. If the thorns are a worry with pets or children there are some thorn free varieties also available. In parts of the world the hawthorn is even cultivated as a food crop because the berries can be eaten, although this should only under be done so with caution and under guidance as they do have some unfavourable qualities and they are not particularly tasty. Indeed, one variety from Mexico has long been cultivated for its berries that are some 2cm long and often used to make jams.



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