Mr Carrot proved himself a worthy Valentine this week, by buying me a gift of The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I have only dipped into it so far, but the story it tells sounds quite extraordinary, about how trees look after one another, intertwine their roots and feed tree stumps that are members of their family long after they have been cut down.
Trees live for many centuries, making us human beings seem quite insignificant. I am also reading Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places and in his section on ‘Forest’, he suggests that elms, destroyed by Dutch elm disease, will probably return and thrive on the planet long after humans are gone.
By coincidence, the tree surgeons came this week to give our garden a haircut, so I thought that for this week’s six I would look up and feature some of the trees in our garden. The title is a nod to a line from one of my all-time favourite tracks, Different Drum by the Lemonheads.
I am eternally grateful to The Propagator for putting the time and energy into hosting Six on Saturday each weekend, where we showcase six things from our garden. Despite my best intentions, I am only managing to blog once a week at the moment and where better to do it than SOS?
- Pear tree
How blue is that sky? It has really felt quite spring-like during the day this week, although we have had frosts overnight. I have featured this pear before and although it has now had a nice trim we still face the same problem of how to reach fruit growing twelve feet up in the air.
This fig tree is one of the wonders of our garden. In the spring, before it has put on its voluminous green foliage, it is perfect for climbing. My eight-year-old daughter in particular loves to make a den up there with her cuddly toys. I like to think the tree enjoys having children play in it. It seems a very friendly creature, even if its fruit never ripens.
The tree surgeons have given this bay tree at the back of our garden a nice rounded shape. We built our pirate ship play area around this tree, so it grows up out of it, creating a shady roof. I am planning to add bean bags and bunting to the pirate ship when the weather gets a bit warmer to tempt the children outside.
Our old holly tree is shaped a bit like a hat. It provides plenty of shade in summer and has a decoration of jasmine, which grows rampantly up through it in search of the sun.
It is a little difficult to make out, but in the foreground, in front of the Viburnum bodnantense, is an apple tree. It has been fruitful every year since we moved in, although last summer it became quite cankered. This is an awkward corner. It is overgrown with ivy and raspberries and although this picture doesn’t really show, it can be quite shady. I am still unsure what to do with it to bring it to life.
The last tree in my six is not actually in our garden, but next-door. If ever a tree had character it is this enormous old walnut. I love to look out over it. It withstood the storms of 1987, but I’m not sure if it would survive another great storm as like an old lady it is starting to look a little unsteady on its feet.
That’s my six for this week. I hope you enjoyed them and please do remember to visit The Propagator and his followers. It is so illuminating to find out what is happening in others’ gardens around the world.