Anthony Eden, Halesworth
The man who plants trees
It is entirely due to Tony that Halesworth has become involved in Anglia in Bloom. Since we decided, as a small team, to enter he has shown himself to be indefatigable despite increasing serious pain and many physical challenges that would daunt anyone else. His example keeps us going when it gets tough.
Currently Tony is planning to take up long-distance walking again as he reckons that his need to have
two sticks could be put to good use.
His major strengths for us are his passionate commitment to wildlife, and in particular to trees,
alongside his ability to make or mend anything you lay before him. whether it be a broken down piece
of equipment or a notice needing a board. One of his many legacies will undoubtedly be the number
of Sorbus domesticus and Black Poplars he has grown from seed, planted or encouraged others to plant,
as he did in 2012 in St Albans at the Awards Ceremony. He has surely planted a forest over the years.
Tony’s wife Jen says:
“Tony first started working with trees when we lived in Flixton and he had just retired early because
of ill health. He always enjoyed walking and retirement gave him the time to become a tree warden.
His friend Bob, also a tree warden but living just over the border in Norfolk, often assessed trees whilst
they were out walking together.”
“In 2000 we moved to Halesworth to a large garden with quite a lot of trees and once held a local area
tree warden meeting in our garden. There were discussions on how to solve the tree problems that arose
in other gardens.”
“Tony then went to seminars in Norfolk and Suffolk and once in Epping Forest with other local wardens.”
“Tony worked with Brian Thornton President of Anglia in Bloom currently, on an area meeting in
Henham Park when various problems around the Park had to be solved by the wardens attending. Brian
and Tony became interested in the Black Poplar, which was fast disappearing from this area,
mainly because housewives did not like the seed heads in early summer spoiling their washing so
other wood was being planted instead. Some Black Poplars were DNA tested and proved to be pure
and Tony was given one which was planted in our garden in 2001. It replaced a 170 foot Ash that had
come down in a storm the night before we moved in at the end of October 2000.”
“From this Black Poplar, many, many cuttings have been taken and Tony has found good homes for a
large number of new trees.”
“Tony also persuaded the owner of Halesworth Fishing Lakes to allow him to plant four Black Poplars,
two female and two male (nicknamed Tom and Barbara and Margot and Gerry), plus 10 Sorbus
domesticus (planted in two semi-circles of 5 trees), hoping that some fertilised seeds might find
their way down our River Blyth and perhaps grow. The Black Poplars were planted in a formal
ceremony attended by several ‘bigwigs’ from the Tree Council.”
“Tony also has two Indian Rain Trees growing in pots, but these would be vulnerable to our cold
winters, the frost pocket in our garden and the river floods had he not created a special shelter.”
“Any young tree found in our garden has to be potted up and found a good home. They have to be
protected. It’s just as well they are taken out or we would live in a forest!”
Behind Jen’s account there is a man of passion and compassion and an incredibly talented maker
and fixer. Tony and Jen’s parties are memorable as all the most remarkable and unusual traps,
tools and objets trouvés are put on display for us to discuss what they were used for and how it is that
Tony has it in one of his many sheds.
All our major building and installing is done by Tony – the trellises, the water butts and any number
of stakes and supports. Our plants thrive under his and Jen’s care.
Tony Eden is an unsung hero, though not so in Halesworth where we love him and value all he does.