Stalking James I’s mulberries

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Date(s) - 20/05/2018
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Deptford rail station

Part of the first ever Urban Tree Festival, made possible by donations from 70 generous crowd funding supporters and city-greening charity Trees for Cities. We are delighted to welcome Peter Coles, co-creator of Morus Londonium to entice you to Discover London’s Mulberry Heritage.

Stalking James I’s Mulberries
Mulberry trees are often associated with the silk industry, as their leaves are the sole diet of the silkworm. James I imported thousands of mulberries to England in the early 17th century for a silk project, which failed after a few decades. But London’s mulberry heritage pre-dates James and goes back to Tudor, Medieval and even Roman times, when mulberries were grown for their fruit, which has medicinal properties as well as being delicious. Deptford, Greenwich and Charlton have an unusually large number of mulberries, young and old, often with a fascinating history.

The walk will begin with a rare, sprawling old black mulberry in Sayes Court Park, Deptford, on the site of the house of 17th century diarist John Evelyn, who wrote a definitive book on trees Sylva. We will then walk to St Nicholas’s churchyard, which has a dwarf weeping mulberry and is where the murdered Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe is buried. Largely destroyed in WW2 the church’s Norman tower survives, as do unusual skull-and-crossbones motifs. Following the Thames walk, past the Cutty Sark, we will see some of London’s rare white mulberry trees and another old black mulberry in Greenwich. The walk will end in the Queen’s Orchard which boasts what may be another Jacobean mulberry tree.

The walkshop is led by Peter Coles – urban nature writer and photographer, and champion of London’s mulberries. He has been co-creating intriguing Stalking Trees walkshops for the Museum of Walking, in which participants get to know a thing or two about trees and how to photograph them.  Peter is working with the Conservation Foundation to conserve and build awareness of London’s mulberry heritage, through walkshops and the Morus Londinium website. Dip into the mulberry’s intriguing history.

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