The day was warm,calm and sunny. A perfect early autumn morning. My sister and I awaited our friend and strolled around the house relishing the beams of light across the floors, enjoying the peace of a peaceful day.
I had planned a day of relaxing activities, dying some silk into brilliant hues of pinks, from soft rose to plum, reading a new book, writing a blog. Quiet solitary restful occupations whilst my sister walked with our friend. I had planned this day of contentment. Life laughs at my plans so often I wonder why I bother:)
She arrives,our friend of decades,usually so neat and calm, now looking rather as a doll dragged through a bush backwards. To reach our front door she had had to climb over and through a tangle of branches of a tree across the drive.
No wind, not even a breeze, I can forgive a tree crashing down when the howling hell of a storm rips and pushes at it. Can forgive a tree struck by lightening throwing itself in it’s agony across the ground.
But a sunny, windless morning?
Our neighbours say it was a tree upright in all it’s glory at nine o’clock, here we were an hour later, somewhere in that hour the tree had laid down quietly, with no fuss, no noise, no drama, just ‘resting’ across the drive. A considerate fall, missing the car by a leaf-tip.
I will miss my tree. It was a Buddleia Weyeriana called 'sungold'. Beautiful, delicate, pale orange and yellow flowers. A generous tree. From my old bedroom window I could watch the doves swaying amongst it’s topmost branches, murmuring their sweet nothings to each other, follow the flight of finches and tits busily searching and pecking their unseen goodies. The air around it was noisy with the busyness of bees, alight with the colour of butterflies flitting from each fragile flower.
It was a screen against the north winds and the neighbourhood, creating a small enclave of peace alongside the road. Was a hunting ground for younger cat, she of the nervous disposition, allowing her the outdoors in safety with the open door just a seconds flight from real or imaginary monsters.
Under the tree’s generous canopy grew a golden Dogwood splashing it’s artificial sunshine through winter’s greyest days, a Mock Orange which positively drowns one in glorious scent. And a Mahonia to help cheer on late winter. Through the tree’s branches twined it’s downfall, a wonderful early, very early, flowering clematis. Sweet smelling, early snack for the bees in very back end of winter and early spring.
It’s downfall, for I fear the weight of this greedy climber, coupled with the extreme wet of the last year helped my buddleia on its way down.
Of course if I had followed accepted wisdom and hacked it down each year and kept it as a bush, it may well still be with us.
However, my buddleigh wanted to be tree. It’s whole being dictated it was a tree, as it does with all of it’s kind, which is why gardening experts advise ‘ruthless’ cutting back each year.
I do not, on the whole listen to the experts, and those of you who follow me will know my garden is allowed pretty well to do what it wishes. My tree has had thirteen years of being a tree, not bad. It was the first to be planted, and the first to fall. As they say - ‘it had a good life’. Who knows, when the tangle has been removed I may well find an offspring waiting it’s turn:)
However, it was blocking our way that morning, a path, at least, had to be cut through the branches. I have great friends, older than moi, she turned too with me to saw and lop our way through the block. No chain-saw, just an old fashioned two handed saw, two pairs of loppers, an hour’s muscle stretching toil, and two old ladies.
There is now, a path wide enough for two from roadside to front door, a gi-normous pile of wood to be processed, on the only clear bit of the drive left, plus the thought of hours more work ahead to cut my way through to the base of the split trunk, to try and remove the corpse. Maybe by then it will have begun to sprout again, who knows. As, after three days, by back muscles are still complaining and my shoulders feel as if a giant has stomped on them all I can mutter at this moment is
I love my garden but. . .