Monday, 17 December 2012

A Norwegian Spruce

For the last 65 years a Norwegian Spruce measuring over 20 metres tall and with a suitably matching girth has arrived on these shores.
Gifted by the city of Oslo to the people of London since 1947 as a token of gratitude for British support of Norway during WWll.
The tree is prominently displayed in Trafalgar Square during the Christmas season 12 days before Christmas until just before Twelfth Night after Christmas on the 6th January when it is taken down for recycling. The tree is chipped and composted to make mulch for the London Parks.
The tree provides a focal point for Christmas carolling groups and for many in London it signals the countdown to Christmas
1947 - The first Christmas Tree from Norwayimages via wikipedia

43 comments:

  1. It's a lovely gesture but at the same time it's a shame that a tree that has taken such a long time to grow should be cut down to be displayed only for 12 days before being recycled.

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    1. Sorry I probably haven't made it totally clear, it is up for 12 days before Christmas and comes down on 12th night after christmas - the 6th January, so almost 24 days in total.

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    2. In Norway there are trees, and nothing but trees, so a little one to London is not a shame at all. We have too many, and they are growing too fast, we should have taken down much more than we do.

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  2. I'm actually quite comfortable with Norway's annual gift to London.....sustainable, practically industrially farmed pine forests abound in Norway... and it does symbolise something that was important to Norway in those years after the war.... maybe, now, all these years later, we could donate something in return.....an acre of deciduous tree planting, somewhere in the world where a real benefit would be felt.
    Some lovely images here Rosemary, the historical and the glorious close up of raindrops on pine needles... I can almost smell them. Jx

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    1. Dear Janice - as you mention most Pines are farmed. They are grown on a vast scale as a commercial crop for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. It is widely used in carpentry, and the pulp used for paper. A poplar sideline these days are the pine nuts from certain trees for making Pesto, and in Scandinavia they make a tea from the pine needles.

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  3. I always love the idea of special gifts between countries. On a trip to London 5 years ago we saw the lovely tree in Trafalgar Square, but I had no idea it was from Norway. Thank you for telling us, and for your lovely images.

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    1. Dear Patricia - thank you, I am pleased that you were interested. People in this country tend to know the story, but I thought it was possibly something that might not be known about overseas.

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  4. I think it's a lovely tradition, Rosemary, and a sign of real friendship between our two nations. I'd love to see it in situ one year, but probably won't, as we hardly ever get anywhere near London nowadays.

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    1. I never go to London at Christmas now Perpetua. It is different when you have families as they come first wherever that might be. Friendly gestures between countries must be good for us all.

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  5. What a lovely gesture each year. It all looks so pretty. If you have not shared this I wouldn't not have known.

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    1. Friendships between countries must be beneficial to us all. That is why I think friendships through blogging are such a good idea.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,
    What a beautiful tree--and so much more special because of the relationship it represents between two countries. And, I must say, it's refreshing to see that the tree is lit in a more classic, not over-done way, and displayed for the actual Christmas season... Here in the States, the Christmas season is spreading (mostly by over-eager retailers and shoppers), diluted from mid October through late January... They should all take a page from your book and enjoy being in the moment, celebrating each day's/season's beauty. Thanks, Rosemary!
    Warm regards,
    Erika

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    1. Dear Erika - it is a pity that so many retailers extend the Christmas shopping season for so long. I hate to see signs of Christmas when I am still savouring Autumn. No doubt they are all anxious for our pennies, and especially so during these times of hardship.
      The tree is a lovely symbol of friendship, much better that we make peace with our neighbours and not war.

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  7. Dear Rosemary - I had not heard of this custom before, so thanks for sharing. Actually, I'm not aware of other instances of yearly Christmas gifts between countries, and I think it's a lovely idea.

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    1. Now you mention it Mark, I am not aware of other Christmas gifts between countries either. However, one thing that I do enjoy every year is the New Years Day Concert from Vienna - land of your forefathers, and I know that the wonderful flowers that decorate the magnificent Musikverein Golden Hall are gifted each year from the city of sanremo, Liguria, Italy.

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  8. Its a touching gesture on the part of Norway to sustain this lovely tradition for more than 60 years - such deep gratitude. Its a pity though that a 20 metre tree can only last about 24 days, but then let's not be analytical and enjoy the sprit of Christmas and the goodness of mankind.

    I've heard of this before on one of my travels but was pushed to the back of my mind until this post refreshed my memory.

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    1. You are right this tree is just one of millions that are cut down at Christmas time. However, fir trees do seem to grow rapidly. I have one in the garden that I bought about 14 years ago to have indoors at Christmas. We planted it in the garden and it now at least 35 feet tall and reaching forever to the sky. I cannot believe that a little pot tree could have grown so much.
      It is a kind spirit of friendship from Norway to our country.

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  9. the tree is beautiful! I would love to go there one day

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    1. Hope you get the opportunity to visit some time.

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  10. Hallo dear Rosemary!What a lovely tradition! And a sign of real friendship between two countries! I would love to visit London on this time of the year!Thank you for sharing!Wishing you a lovely week!
    Dimi..

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    1. Dear Dimi - the trouble with travelling at this time of the year is the weather. At the moment it happens to be lovely - fine and sunny, but it could be very cold and snowy.

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  11. The Norwegian Spruce ia a beautiful and grand tree. I was able to experience the opening of the Christmas lights on the Chrtistmas tree at Trafalgar Square several years ago, it was a memorable experience.

    Here in Canada, we receive thousands of tulip bulbs from the Netherlands to commemorate their gratitude to the Canadian troops that defended their country and also for giving a safe haven here for the Dutch Royal Family during WW II. So beginning of spring there is the Tulip Festival in Ottawa.

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    1. Thanks for the information about the tulips - that is a lovely tradition too.
      Great that you were there for the opening night of the lights on the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square - something that I have not been at.

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  12. It's a lovely tradition and fantastic how it has continued for so many years.
    Sarah x

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    1. It is a lovely gesture and tradition - the tree always looks special lit up in trafalgar Square.

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  13. Hello Rosemary, I'll be honest and admit that I prefer the first tree picture, with its majestic appearance in a natural setting. The photo is especially effective with that ghostly echo of the other tree behind the spruce.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Jim - we actually have one growing in our garden which is heading in the same direction as that tree in the photo. I bought it after Christmas about 12 years ago as it had been vastly reduced. The Pine had roots so we decided to give it at home, but never imagined that it would grow so tall or so quickly. All in all we have three Christmas trees growing in the garden, as our preference is for ones with roots. Now I dare not buy another as they get so big and I don't want a garden completely full of them - lovely as they are.

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  14. I had never heard of this tradition before. The symbolism is wonderful and I'm happy to hear that the tree gets recycled but...it still pains me a bit to think of that beauty being chopped down.

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    1. Dear Rosemary - that is a comment that others have made too. I know how you feel, as I love trees, but I do understand that these trees are grown as a cash crop for paper pulp and woodwork.

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    2. Please come to Norway, drive a car out into the middle of nowhere, start walking, and you will see hundreds, oh thousands of the same...I have a lot of them myself, around my second home. It is not a shame to take them down, at all

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    3. Dear Lisa - I do hope that some of these comments did not upset you. As I mentioned myself these fir trees are really a cash crop, they are grown for cutting down!!!

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  15. A wonderful story! When I see your photos I would like to jump into the next plane and visit... or should I jump into a VW? I might make it till January 6 then... Christa

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    1. A VW just like your father had Christa would be great fun.

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  16. A beautiful tree, displayed so wonderfully, and with such a tradition and remembrance attached to it, and to be recycled afterwards, it's a wonderful story and I'm glad you told us this as I didn't know about it. I hope I'll be in London around Christmas once and see that huge tree.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. It is a wonderful gathering place before, during and after Christmas. Who knows may be one year you will be there.

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  17. What a lovely Christmas tribute Rosemary. It is a huge tree too.

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    1. Dear Olive - it is always 20meters or more, that is about 65 feet in old measurements.

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  18. Lovely tree and great story, Rosemary !

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    1. Thank you Dani - sending Christmas greetings to you.

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  19. Dear Rosemary! Yes we are grateful for the support your country gave during wartime, and I think this tradition will not stop before you decide you do not want it any more. When living in Norway, we are living in the nature, even when we are living in a town, our towns are small, and it is not a long way out in the forest for any of us. What I want to say is that even thou we are sending one of the best trees to you, our forests are full of, yes indeed, trees! So many of the comments are about what a shame to put the tree down, well it is not! The trees are growing very fast, also, as you told yourself.
    Thank you for bringing the story!

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    1. Dear Lise - I understand what you are saying. I know Norway very well, my son and his family live in Stavanger. I have travelled all of the way up the coast to where you live in Trondheim so I know that Norway is one mass of conifer trees. Please do not take anything anyone has said to heart, everyone has their different views and I fully support and back up what you say. Long may the Norway spruce arrive on our shores and a big thank you Norway♥

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  20. Dear Rosemary, I do not take anything of this at heart, as you say. I only wanted to show another perspective! I remember you told me before that your son is living in Stavanger. My husband lived there from 14-20 years, and we have a lot of friends there. Only an hour by air. My husband is there often, as he works in Statoil, and now and then I join him to visit friends. How fun that you know Norway, if you are coming back to Trondheim, it would be wonderful to meet!

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    1. Dear Lise - Statoil financed my son whilst doing his PhD, so as a student he spent time in Stavanger. He now works for Total in Stavanger, but has just co-operated with Statoil on the King Lear project. We are visiting Stavanger at the end of the week but only for a few days. It may be our last visit for the time being as my son will be returning to Aberdeen in the summer.

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“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh