suzi bs bee dusk pic















Here you will find info and photos of vegetables and flowers found on seeds available. If you would like to offer seed, do send info and jpegs (200 pixel width))so they can be posted.



Tall, white podded , prolific , hardy, although probably from Italy originally, good flavour too, now grown in Swansea.


Very attractive flowers on tall plants (up to 2m) that produce abundantly.Traditionally grown as a drying pea, in the north east for the last 300 years, but is also nice eaten fresh





Allow about 75cm between plants as this spring cabbage can produce huge heads. White inner leaves are delicious raw.


A 19th Centuary Australian variety was described by Carters in 1934 as a `veritable giant , both in length and bulk`, but with a superb flavour and trouble free to grow.


A ridge cucumber from Estonia, Compact bushes, are very tolerant when given nitrogen rich compost and produce small good flavoured fruit with a prickly skin.


Very hardy, grows to about 1.5 m ,delicious picked either in winter (individual leaves ) or like brocolli when it starts to bolt in spring.


Lovely tender leek , eat thro to April. The seedlings in pic above( known as leek grass.) were pinned down in autumn and planted out in spring, the ones with diameters of 1/4inch and above bolted, but the smaller ones have turned into good sized leeks (pic to come.)


Delicious orange banana shaped fruits up to 25kg , good keeper -allow at least 1m between plants on rich well drained soil.


Small plum tomato (indeterminate cordon). Prolific sweet fruits with a hint of sharpness, can be grown outdoors but I`ve only grown them in a polytunnel where they were v successful








FreeTree Seeds are offering a small quantity of seed from our ancient haymeadow. The above photo shows bugle red clover and plantain,other species include yellow rattle and eyebright, which are semiparasitic on grass and therefore help to reduce its dominance. Sheeps sorrel, birdsfoot trefoil, and Knapweed are also present amongst the annual and prennial meadow grasses.

Yellow Rattle.


picture of knapweed Knapweed


image of birdsfoot treefoil Birdsfoot Trefoil.





There`s some crossover of species, but this collection also has pignut, devils` bit scabious,angelica, harebell, betony , yarrow and bluebell seed amongst mainly perennial grasses.

image of yarrowYarrow



to be continued..............












































Tree Species In The British Isles

If you have any information and/or photos of other species please mail us and we will incorporate them into this page.


























Alnus glutinosa
Height to 20m (70`)

Native to Europe ,west Asia and north Africa . Alder grows wild in damp boggy ground and by rivers -often with its roots in running water. However because it forms both surface and deep roots it is also able to thrive when the water table runs low and so will also flourish in well drained area. It does not however like peat.
The roots of alder like legumes can fix atmospheric nitrogen so that it can not only thrive in poor soils but will also improve fertility.
Alder is hardy and accommodating. It can be planted as a nurse tree or coppiced on marshy ground. When well seasoned it has been called bog oak as it burns well It has also been successfully planted on spoil heaps
The wood is medium heavy but soft and perishable.
Stands of Alder can look v. beautiful in the winter as their twigs look almost violet en mass
Collect from the end of October. Dry seeds and store
4 weeks before sowing soak and stratify.
Sow almost on suface of 50/50 mix sand and soil (or leafmold)...
place seedtray /pots in water to keep moist.
Prick out and pot on as necessary.


Take hardwood cuttings in November.


(Fraxinus excelsior)


The leaves are opposite and made up of 9-13 hairless leafletsincluding a single one at the end. Each leaflet is 5-11 cm long, narrowed at the tip, with a toothed margin
Ash is a deciduous tree with a single trunk up to 40 m in height, with a greenish-grey bark, deeply fissured with age. It is found very commonly in woods and hedgerows, especially on lime-rich and heavy soils.
The buds, in opposite pairs at the base of each leaf, are black.
Bunches of petalless male and female flowers grow on separate twigs on the same tree showing purple before the leaves appear in June.
The pale brown fruits or 'keys', which blow away in the wind, consist of a single seed surrounded by a wing.

Ash wood is white and tough and can be usd for oars, axe-handles, hockey-sticks, skis and many other 'implements'.

A weeping form with long drooping branches is much grown in gardens.

Ash is known as the king of woods as it can be burned green.(unseasoned)

Collect seed during autumn and early winter from straight growing trees (if growing for firewood).
Seed takes 18 months to germinate .Mix with sand and soil and protect from mice .18 months later sow thinly in similar mix - keep moist.

If transplanting to nursery, place them 4” apart, in rows 15” apart.

Due to ash dieback FreeTree will no longer be offering this species.

Betula pendula (silver birch)
Betula pubescens (downy birch)
...BEDWEN... (Welsh)
Birch was the first broadleaved tree to colonise Britain after the last Ice Age and was the dominant tree of the western Scottish Highlands It is therefore one of our hardiest trees as well as one of the most beautiful. Birches are however fairly shortlived reaching a height of 12-18m (40-60`)
Sun or shade and will grow on thin acid soils The trees have wide shallow roots and should not be planted close to borders and fences
Birch roots aid the breakdown of compost and although birch wood is hard it is perishable It has been used for many small wooden items but mostly for the production of plywood
Birch Sap Wine
Take sap as it starts to rise in early spring by making an upward slanting hole about 1`` deep, about 2` from the ground. Insert a short piece of rigid tubing (which can be left in place )and attatch a length of brewers tube into a demijon or similar through a cork When enough sap has been collected cork up the hole to prevent bleeding. Simmer to reduce the quantity by half and then add 2-3lbs of sugar per gallon. Raisins can also be added before adding the yeast at blood temperature. Allow to stand in a covered bucket before racking into clean demijons with airlocks. Keep as long as possible -tastes like sherry!

stratify for a month before sowing in April

(Prunus instititia)
Lovely wild plum , tree similar in size to damsons (also likes similar conditions) Makes good hedging
Fruit green ripening to yellow -stone large in proportion to flesh but good flavour and makes excellent jam and wine
4lbs bullace
3lbs sugar
1 gallon water
½ lb raisins
wine yeast
Put bullace in a sterilised bucket and pour the boiling water over it Add sugar, stir and add yeast; when the must is blood temperature, cover and leave for 3days
Rack into sterilised fermentation jars (syphon with brewers tube), add raisons and close with an air lock. Bottle (in glass) when fermentation finishes and keep (in the dark) for as long as possible
Bullace suckers can be potted up in winter or grown from the stones -see sloe propagation

Some containerised trees still available autumn 2014.

Prunus damascena

Eirin duon(Welsh)
Height to 5m (16` )
Like plums and gages damsons do best in deep well drained loam rich in lime potash and nitrogen although they will still grow well in a slightly acid soil Damsons do well in areas of higher rainfall and less sun than plums They are also hardier than plums or gages and as they flower later are more frost tolerant
Keep well watered after planting and reduce competition from grass to a minimum -a mulch of compost /manure will achieve this and also provide needed nutrients
Pruning -only if really necessary early spring or late summer to lessen risk of silver leaf (this also applies to peaches and plums)

Makes wonderful jam, jelly and wine (see recipes under Bullace)


Crataegus monogyna
Welsh : Draenen wen
Height 10.5 m (35ft)

Hawthorns need a well drained  but not rich soil although they will benefit from  the addition of lime if it is acid.
Much planted in hedges (especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) it  is fast growing and stock proof,although the wood is very hard (cretaegus =hard ).
Hawthorns make very good wildlife habitats, the flowers are nectar rich and produce wonderful honey, while the fruit (haws) becomes rich in sugar after frost, and also contain many other beneficial compounds.
Hawthorns are good nurse trees, and also protect against erosion in sandy areas.
Medicinally hawthorns have also been used extensively as  cardio- tonics around the world( they hybridise easily producing over 1000 species worldwide)Even inhaling the scent of the flowers is said to be beneficial to people with heart problems .
Both wine and jelly (rich in pectin) can be made from the haws.
Haw Sauce
1 1/2lbs of haws
4oz sugar
¾ pt vinager
Salt and pepper
Simmer the haws in vinegar for 30 min before sieving. Add the sugar ,salt and pepper and boil for another 10 mins before sealing the puree in jars.



Corylus avellana
Also cultivated as cob nuts( which have a larger kernel)
Plant in any well drained soil.They will grow 4-6 meters (13-20`) but if grown for their nuts it is better to prune to  45cm (18”) when planting, they will then develop up to 6 main branches. Cut back previous years growth for first 4-5 years by half to encourage strong bushy growth  Then leave unpruned twiggy laterals from previous year as these will carry the nuts. In late summer  cut out any strong  shoots  that have grown  in the center of the bush.
Hazel is often used as hedging and can  be cultivated as above. Eventually it will need laying (7-20 years) or cutting -every 3 years in rotation is best for wildlife.
Hooper`s Rule
Dr Hooper noticed that there is a correlation between the number of species in a hedge and its age. Taking a 30-yard sample, count the number of trees and shrubs. Each species  represents roughly a century and hedges can at least be distinguished as to whether they date from the18th/19th centuries or back to the middle ages The rule does not seem to work further back than 1100.

Hazels can begin flowering in January  which makes hazel a v.important early source of pollen for bees.
As the main understory in oakwoods hazel is (or was ) also important as a coppice wood as well as being used for hurdles , woven fencing , bean poles and benders –anything that requires  strong and flexible wood


Ilex aquifolium
Celynnen –Welsh
Holly is native to west Asia and Europe including Britain .
Height – usually 6-8m (18-25`) though can grow taller
Spread -2-4m (8-12`)
Female trees bear bright red berries but usually only when near a male.

Holly is a hardy species –tolerant of most conditions particularly heavy shade and a wet soil.It also copes with atmospheric pollution, exposed sites and coastal districts.
Holly does not like root disturbance so young plants  -50cm (18”) are best planted between October and April. For hedges plant 60cm (24”) apart .Water well during dry periods . Holly is slow growing  but can be pruned back hard once established.
Holly is part of the oak hazel province (see map of wildwood Britain) growing more abundantly in the north and west.
The wood of holly is white, hard and fine textured making it good for turning and inlay work –when stained black it forms a substitute for ebony.

Holly berries have a long season and so are an  important food source for many birds including blackbirds redwings and  thrushes fieldfares blackcaps and starlings.



Acer campestre
Welsh : masarnen lleiaf
Height 4.5 -9 m (15-30 ft)
Britain`s only native maple,  it has small but  typical 5 lobed maple leaves that turn yellow in the autumn ,can also be distinguished from the sycamore in that its flowers and fruit (winged like sycamore)stand proud of the leaves unlike sycamore that hang.
It will grow under most conditions and is very vigorous, outcompeting many other hedgerow species such as hazel.
It hosts many mosses and lichens and provides shelter for birds and insects.
Turning (short lengths)carving and firewood.



Quercus robur _Common or Pedunculate
Quercus petraea –Sessile or Durmast
Both species of oak native to Britain are long lived -800 years+ and will grow to over 30 meters (100`).They are distinguished from each other in that the common oak has no leafstalk  but a long acorn stalk, whereas  the Sessile oak is the other way around It is also more common in the north and west of Britain although everywhere the common oak is the more dominant species.
Common oak has a shorter trunk when grown in the open compared to close stands and needs a deep rich soil,sessile needs good drainage and both demand good light They are also wind firm and rarely need staking.
Oak-woods where oak is so abundant that it forms the underwood as well as the timber is the commonest broadleaved woodland especially where it coincides with the oak hazel province of prehistoric  Britain –see Oliver Rackham`s map of Wildwood Britain below . However since about 1900 oaks have no longer germinated and grown to maturity within existing woodlands,probably because the arrival of oak mildew about this time (from America)has made oaks a more light demanding tree.


From seed.
Acorns are not dormant and will start to germinate soon after collection. Sow those that sink (in a bucket of water) 2” (5cm) deep in soil...200 to the sq m or 2 to a 1 litre pot . Keep moist and protect from birds and mice! Seedlings will emerge in May.

Sorbus aucuparia


Height 5-10m (15-30`) spread 3-5m (8-12`)
Any ordinary well drained soil, sun or shade. Rowan asits other name implies thrives at higher altitudes where it can escape peat soils and grazing -it used to be planted by houses in the Highlands as a safeguard against witchcraft
Its slender shape ,clusters of white flowers and striking orange fruit make it an attractive tree to plant in parks and gardens
The wood is hard and useful for small items The berries are rich in vitamin C and can be used to make jelly and wine as well as feeding wild birds.
2lbs of stalked berries simmered till soft in ¾ pt water acidulated with lemon juice or crab apples
Put through butter muslin or a jelly bag then add 1lb of sugar to every pint of juice Boil until set then put into jars -good with savoury dishes
Collect ripe berries ,extract seeds and store outside in sand /soil mix .Keep moist and protect until March when about10% should be germinating .Sow in pots -5 seeds to 1 litre pot and thin or broadcast sow thickly.


draenen ddu (Welsh)

(Prunus spinosa)

Native to Europe and north Asia (inc UK)

Height to 3m (15`)


Well drained soil including poor/stony ground Blackthorn suckers freely .

Lovely white blossom (as with allother prunus mentioned here) developing into sloes-tiny acid black fruit best picked after first frost (be careful of the thorns -they can break off in the flesh and turn septic.

Sloe Gin

This recipe also works for damsons.

Mix 1lb (450gms) of sloes with 6oz (170gm) white sugar and 75centilitres of gin. Place in a sterilized wide necked bottle, seal and keep for 3 months before drinking.

Euonymus europaes
Piswydden(Welsh )
Spindle is a much-branched deciduos shrub usually up to 6m but occasionally as high as 8m, with branches 4-angled when young: older branches are grey to reddish-brown and often corky.
Spindle grows on woodland margins, in shrub and hedgerows mostly on lime-rich soils.
The greenish flowers, about 1cm across, have 4 petals alternating with 4 shorter, joined sepals. The flowers are arranged in clusters of 3-10, each on a short stalk: they appear in May and June.
The 4-lobed fruits turn deep-pink in autumn and later open to expose four bright orange seeds.
The leaves turn dark-red in autumn and spindles are often planted in parks for their colour. The white or pale-yellow wood was formerly used for making spindles, knitting needles and skewers. The flowers are rich in nectar which attracts small pollinating insects.Spindle is the only wild tree or shrub in Northern Europe which has a rubber-like substance, gutta percha, in its bark.It is also an overwintering home for blackflyPropagationFrom half-ripe stem cuttings in summerFrom root division.

From seed - 2-3 months of warmth before sowing aids germination then follow instructions on propagation pages.


Castanea sativa

Height 30m (100`) and trunk can reach 9-12 m (30-40`)
Chestnut timber closely resembles oak in colour, grain and texture. It is moderately heavy, rather soft and not as strong as oak but it is easier to work and far easier to split. It`s a suitable substitute where durability and only moderate strength is needed.
Can also be grown as a coppice on a 12-15 year rotation which can be used for fencing and barrel hoops.
Although a native of southern Europe they thrive on good soils in Britain. They are however frost tender and in very wet soils are vulnerable to pests and disease.
Spanish chestnut grows widely in the southern half of Britain and where it is left to grow (uncoppiced) the nuts are bigger Although they do not always mature in our climate (at present)they are such a good source of food when they do,that in Mediterranean countries they are often dried and ground to flour (Polenta)
Chestnut Soup
1lb chestnuts 1 bayleaf
potato egg yolk (optional )
1pt vegetable stock seasoning
½ pt milk single cream (optional)

Shell and skin the chestnuts Simmer with the potato (diced ) herbs and seasoning in the stock until tender Puree, add the milk and reheat Add egg yolk beaten into cream just before serving.

Juglans regia
Welsh – collen ffreinig
A native of E. Europe and S.Asia  it is to be seen as a planted tree here and there throughout Britain
Growing t o 30m (100`) walnuts require a good medium  soil  and though it is susceptible to late frosts it  grows successfully at over 300m(1000`)albeit slowly as the leaves are one of the latest to come out (June after the flowers)
Walnut is dark greyish brown with darker irregular markings .It is heavy hard tough and reasonably durable
It requires long seasoning but having shrunk does not swell again if wet. It also cuts in any direction making another reason apart from its beauty that it`s used extensively in furniture making
The value of the timber is one of the reasons walnut is not commonly seen in woods and hedgerows
Pickled Walnuts
Although delicious fresh (wet) most walnuts are eaten  dried  or pickled . For these-  gather  unripe when a fork can be driven into them Prick all over and leave in brine for a week .Drain and leave in sunshine/bright light for another 2 days until black all over . Bottle in cold spiced vinegar


aka Gean or Mazzard

prunus avium


Welsh- Ceirioswydden

Native to Europe including Britain it grows 80-100` in hedges and woods on all ordinary soils.It is the parent species from which most orchard cherries have been derived.
Wild cherry is the only native timber tree belonging to the rose family although the genus prunus also includes the plums. bird cherry and cherry laurel
Cherry wood is reddish brown, used for furniture and turnery it darkens with. polishing and resembles mahogany Its strength is comparable to oak
Dark or pale sweet or bitter wild cherry where edible can be used in many recipes

Cherry Jam
pectin/apple juice
cover the stoned cherries with water and boil until nearly all the liquid has gone add sugar (1lb to every 6lbs of whole fruit and add 1pt of juice) Boil until setting point is reached skim and stir as necessary

Cherry Stone Liqueur
1lb of wild cherry stones (left over from above recipe)
Pour 1pt of brandy over stones and leave covered for 2 days Strain and disolve1/2lb of sugar into the brandy Bottle and keep for 3 months

See propagation pages for general instructions


The following is a list of Native Tree species showing appropriate planting areas according to the local provenance map on the trees wanted page.




Below is a copy of a map of Wildwood Britain showing the areas where different species naturally dominated.For more information read Oliver Rackhams` book A History Of The Countriside .




read trees wanted

read trees available

read volunteers and guardians

post trees wanted

post trees available

post volunteers and guardians