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  • Writer's pictureRae Story

Here we go 'round the Mulberry Bush...

In July we ran workshops in Swinton Grove Park searching for, identifying and then exploring the oldest Mulberry Tree in Greater Manchester. We found that Swinton Grove Park actually has two! One is the oldest tree, and must have been part of the park when it was the gardens of Elizabeth Gaskell's house before it was gifted to the people of Manchester. The other is a younger Mulberry tree gifted to the park by Elizabeth Gaskell's House in a nice circular path.

We stood and imagined how it must have been at that time, would the Gaskell's have watched the development and building of Gorton Monastery? How would it have been looking out onto fields instead of the built up area of Ardwick today? What would the sounds and smells have been at that time?

Both the Mulberry trees have fruits ripening at the moment.

We spent time looking and investigating, sketching, photographing, creating. Sharing stories about what we know about Mulberry's and local knowledge and about how we felt in the presence of this tree. One person didn't have paper so instead she made her marks directly into the soil. Another person experimented with broken branches lying on the ground and found a stub of a branch that she could draw onto the tarmac. Her drawing developed from the Mulberry Tree, into a phoenix rising up and flying. It was a beautiful moment. We hope you enjoy the images below, traces of our afternoon in the shade of the ancient trees of Ardwick.

"I am loving the sunlight coming through the canopy of leaves and seeing the sky through the gaps in the leaves'

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