Silver Birch (Betula pendula) Beith gheal in Irish and was classified as a commoner of the woods in the Brehon Laws.
I pass forth into light – I find myself
Beneath a weeping birch (most beautiful
Of forest trees, the Lady of the Woods).
From ‘The Picture or the Lover’s Resolution’
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
One of the first trees I planted in my garden was a Silver Birch. I found it on the sandy shoreline of the lake just over the fields from my home. It was about two foot high and had been broken by cattle so therefore it grew up with three leading trunks. The sign of the triple goddess. Birch is seen as a feminine tree as it is a tall slender tree, gracefully dancing in the breeze and in the moon light the true splendour of its silver white truck can be seen.
Silver birch balances the ph of the soil and because of the light and dispersed nature of the leaves, silver birch allows sunlight to filter to the ground allowing under planting making it an ideal tree for a garden.
The uses of birch are many and varied; it was used for making furniture such as baby’s cradles, bowls and the bark when dried and twisted into a rope was used for a candle. It was traditionally used for thatching houses and is a most flavourful wood for smoking hams and fish.
Bundles of birch twigs tied together onto a long shaft makes a great broom or besoms the archetypical “Witches broomstick.” The sap can be tapped in spring and fermented to make birch wine. Birch has a variety of medicinal properties, and effective remedy for urinary tract infections, gout, rheumatism, muscle pain and to treat skin complaints.
“Trees are the Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”