During the early part of the year Under the Canopy enjoyed a little bit of sunshine and new growth at Hollybush Conservation Centre.

Everyone chose a tree to follow, to observe and notice the changes taking place.

Here are some words and poems inspired by those trees….

Joyce – Plum Tree

Spring is here and your bark has roughened and lost its greeny tinge.

Your trunk is slim and upright,

Your branches split into a trident shape, like a hand with three fingers.

The knots on your trunk are like a pair of thoughtful eyes, watching me.

Your slender branches are starting to repullulate.


You are morally upright,

Straight up and down,

Stretching skywards –

Unlike your tangled companions,

Who are bending louchely in all directions.


Being among trees is very calming,

And you are the calmest of all.

You make me feel better with your simplicity and cleanliness.

If you were human, you’d be a good leader,

Someone who could weather a storm,

And remain calm in a crisis –

A no nonsense straight talker.

What you see is what you get.


I wish you to stay healthy,

And be here for a few years yet.


Abi – Medlar Tree

Dear Medlar,

Do you truly know what you want?

Your branches seem to reach for everything,

All at once,

And yet stop before they reach their destinations.

Though you seem perfectly content with not grasping anything at all.

Are you happy with so many unrealised goals?

Do you want to protect and nurture?

Your branches create a guarded canopy for those who need it,

You feed others during the summer,



The fruits are better as they rot,

And you become a patch of briars visually as they sprout.

Are you trying to push me away?

Unapproachable and kind,

Unsure and certain,

I stand here,

A reflection of you,


More naïve,

Less experienced in life,

Wishing I had the same confidence in my contradictions.







Carole – My Tree

A gentle giant

Overlooking the world

Keeping a close eye

On everything and everyone

Thoughtful and calm

Silent yet strong

Supportive and caring


And hopeful …


Joy – Untitled

Steadfast, upstanding,

Strong, straight,

Sturdy, connected,

Say what you see.

Care, nurture,

The garden, the sky,

Kirkstall Road.

Rustle, wind, birds, wind,

Home for ivy,

Sunshine, shade, shadow

The feel of the sun


Mystery Tree – Peter

We have been

Imposing our


Boxing you in

What true you

Querying taxonomy


Shelley – Medlar Tree

Twisty, turning,

Zigzag, angular,

Crazy, wild,

Unruly, rule-breaker.

Jazz hands – I’m back!

I’m here! Look at me!

You make me feel excited, happy, grounded.

I feel you mirror me,

You are funny, quirky, unique,

Ever so slightly intimidating,

And extremely theatrical.

My wish for you is to grow lots of fruit and live a long life.

You can see the sky, the ground,

Your branches spread out widthways to nosy around the garden,

You hear the wind in your erratic shoots,

The bird song,

The children playing by the pond.

You entertain the creatures and the visitors.

You offer your fruit that is almost rotten-looking,

But tastes better that way.

You remember all the past seasons,

The visitors that have stopped to look,

Stopped to question – what are you?

Do you remember the people who planted you?

The still, quiet craziness of covid?

My hope for you is to keep on growing,

Keep starting conversations,

Bringing people together

And spreading joy.


Sarah – Sister Hilda

Strong, tall, deeply rooted,

Sister Hilda,

Gives directions.

She stands tall, strong and firm,

Looking over all the goings on –

The canal,

The ducks,

The world going by,

The building works,

The traffic over the bridge,

The planes above,

The wildlife all around.

She remembers all the season’s comings and goings.

She wants to be happy,

Surrounded by her sisters,

Gracefully growing

And taking care of her sister trees.

Birds are resting on your branches,

Sunlight beaming through.

Your beautiful leaves are opening up.

If you were human,

You would be a happy, easy-going, friendly person.

Peaceful, calming, soothing,

You make me feel a glimmer of hope.


Gienia – Thora Birch

Thora Birch

A friend to visit, again and again.

A shining beauty watches over wildlife and visitors.

A lanky youth, fighting for space.

Susurration sounds

Gracefully wafting in the breeze

A plucky, energetic survivor.

I seem silent but under the ground,

I jostle with my neighbours.

I talk to my neighbours,

Sharing experiences.

I want to become old and crusty.

A witness to times past.

Thora Birch.


Lesley – Untitled


At peace

A big hippy


Watching the world go by

In its own little corner

Birdsong all the different days

All the different weathers




Pat – The Victoria Plum Tree

A slow unfurl into Spring

A tentative greening of my leaf

Spines and spurs, a spiral  staircase to my twiggy sky touching tips.


Memories of last years fruit wizened,

Droop  from  my stretching bough


I grafted late in summer, to provide luscious plums

Some fell to the ground,

Others reaped went into the  pot, boiled and bottled

A caterpillar, here and there a shiny beetle,

clambering its way over my taupe skin

A wasp burrows to lay her young eggs

Juice drips between your lips

Cloaked in Purple, hazy with grey mottle bloom

Ripeness, sweet perfection.


I  can see you standing there

The cool wind brushes your hair


Not yet many  signs of what is to come







I may not be as tall as the larch

Or have diamond leaves like the birch

Or shake like an aspen

Or shed mast like the beech


Stay, don’t walk away

Shelter with me  beside the grit wall

Let the Sun lap onto, and warm our skin

Listen to the ambience  of cars, birds and bees

Talk to me

Even a tree

Can be lonely.