Urban Gardener: Feel the force

So I was lying there, right, and Richard (you know, my osteopath) said to me, "I healed a tree the other day."

"Er, OK ... shingles?" I said, feebly anticipating a punchline. "No really, it had been struck by lightning at Wisley."

"Ah, right," I murmured, now wondering what the risks were with his hand cupped under my lumbar region.

"Actually, I wish I hadn't healed it," he said almost to himself, "it would have been a useful teaching aid for my students."

The fact that Richard has helped me steer clear of any major back trauma for almost two years now means that while I can't really get my head around what he's just said, I'm hooked. Cyril, my grandfather, was a bit of a tree hugger on the quiet. Once a week he would cycle to a beautiful elm tree in Bracklesham Bay on the south coast, wrap his arms around it and say out loud, "Let the strength of your branches go into my arms, the power of your trunk strengthen my torso and the force of your roots fortify my legs!" The fact that the tree became infected with Dutch elm and was felled makes an amusing enough anecdote, but in truth I gather that, on finding that his weekly tonic had succumbed to the disease, Cyril was crestfallen. I suspect some of his own sap died that day.

Anyway, it turns out that Richard occasionally takes students of osteopathy to Wisley to experience the energy that trees exude in order to help them fine-tune their senses for when they work with people. Two weeks later we met him and his wife, Marika (also a healer and expert dowser) under a beautiful, spreading lime tree at Wisley for a demonstration. The space felt good except that three hydrangeas under the tree's canopy looked like they could use a drink. Touching the stems of the hydrangea, Richard explained that there was energy here that most people should be able to sense. I could feel it, the same feeling of elation you get on most woodland walks.

Just a few paces on, near several Scot's Pines, even though we could still see the lime the energy felt different. I questioned whether this had anything to do with light but later we stood among a group of tall pines each with an interesting lilt showing a sort of collective response to their location and the energy was strong again. On reaching a copse of juvenile oaks near the River Wey, energy levels flat-lined, clearly because land on the opposite side was being raped and pillaged to make a new golf course.

Further on, several different trees could well have suggested disharmony but, all fastigiate by nature, the space had vitality,largely driven by the vertical emphasis within the space. "You don't need large trees to imbue a sense of good energy and growth," said Marika, "an area of heathland, gorse and heather can be just as powerful." On returning to the first lime tree we noticed that two of the hydrangeas had noticeably improved as if they'd been given a bucket of water in the half hour or so we'd been away. Marika explained that newly planted trees, shrubs or anything occasionally sulk and never really get going for no reason. The "healing", that may or may not involve touching the plant, is nothing more than giving it a good talking to or simply visualising a "good" place within its proximity to kick-start new growth.

Like my grandfather's disappointment with the elm, Richard was sad to find that the robinia he said he'd healed had been felled for health and safety reasons. All that was left was a stump. "You might still be able to feel a faint signature of the lightening that struck it," he said. I put my hand on the stump's wound. I wanted to feel something but couldn't, except perhaps a faint tingle, like the one you get when using the touchpad of a laptop for too long, but nothing I could swear to. "Men are less sensitive to such things'" he explained. "They have less to deal with in terms of hormones and bodily changes." No doubt this was the case but it could also have been a simple matter of distraction. I doubt whether anyone has ever been thrown out of Wisley for touching up the stump of a dead robinia, but I sure wasn't going to be the first.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Planner

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - C#, ASP.Net, MVC, jQuery

£42000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a C# ...

Recruitment Genius: General Driver - Automotive

£15500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading Motor Re...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food