There are five of us in our Tree Identification and Sketching group, which meets once a fortnight for an hour and a half. We meet in parks or in local roads and look at the trees. Afterwards, we have some coffee and discuss what we have seen, often using various tree books.
I joined the group over six years ago and ended up becoming the convenor. I’ve always been interested in trees and plants and I think the other members always have been too.
We record leaves and fruits at different stages in the year. As we are talking to each other, we look at the trees in much more detail; the shapes and the bark and the flowers. One thing we’ve noticed looking at trees this way is that all trees are producing flowers, fruit and seeds – not just conventional fruit trees.
Members have different approaches to the sketching and analysing. There are some members who love drawing and painting – I use mine much more as an information system. I try to draw the fruit and flowers and leaves quite specifically – with lots of writing and annotating, comparing them with other trees or the same tree at a different time of year.
We have seen some interesting trees together- Dulwich Park and a road in Dulwich has Southern Nettle trees and some Mongolian Lime trees, both of which are quite rare. There’s plenty of unusual trees and we’ll look at anything.
I think just sharing the interest with other people is a great benefit of the group.