Tomorrow when our Nomination Whist group reconvenes after the Easter break I am longing to hear what they have to say about our tamarisk tree.
Members of our group fight among themselves for their seats at our two card tables because everyone wants to sit where they have a view of the garden. The alternative is a view of the wall and, as everyone knows, there is only so much
wall you can look at before your eyes glaze over. A view of the garden means you can keep an eye on feathered friends visiting the bird feeder (with an outside chance of spotting Mrs Great Spotted Woodpecker) as well as the general feeling of wellbeing
which comes with the Great Outdoors. Our garden, as I have told you before, doesn’t boast fancy decking or tricky topiary. It can best be described as “mature” which description probably fits Mr B and me too, now I come to think of it.
There is everything to be said for mature when it comes to cheddar cheese, after all, so why not gardens, and why not Mr B and me?
I planted the tamarisk tree
in our garden way back in 1986. This was the year when the Council I worked for opened the Tamarisk Centre in Littlehampton and it was my job to arrange all the publicity for the opening by Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk. My abiding memory of the opening
is taking a group of reporters to see the facilities on the first floor of the building only to have the lift break down on us. Why do we only ever remember the things that went wrong, not everything that went right?
The whole opening and the work I and many others put into it was sufficiently special to me to want to have something to remember it by – hence the planting of my very own tamarisk tree in our back garden. It was just
a tiny twiggy thing when we planted it, nearly 28 years ago. Every year, in springtime, I cross every finger and hope that it will burst into bloom again. So far, every year, it has not let me down.
I do my best to protect it by not allowing Mr B to touch it with pruning shears, secateurs or any other implement. Instead I rely completely on our friend Chris, whom we have known since he was knee-high to a grasshopper and
who is a Tree Man through and through. Nobody else (Mr B excepted) knows how much that tree means to me. Mr B feels that I am a little unfair in my judgement of his tree-pruning abilities but this is all based on the indisputable fact
that once upon a time he pruned my beautiful blue ceanothus which never recovered from his ministrations. Mr B argues that this was coincidental and points out that it was, in any case, a very, very long time ago. I have virtually stopped reminding him
of this misadventure since two lovely work colleagues bought me a new ceanothus as a retirement gift. It was one of my favourite gifts and one which will remind me of my colleagues every spring time, hopefully for many years to come.
Not every tree or bush can last forever. Top of my list of Sad Tree Stories – beating the Sad Tale of the Blue Bush into second place – is the loss of
the white lilac tree which we planted on our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Sadly, after several years of spectacular blooming, it fell victim to a fox gnawing away at its bark. It is fortunate that neither Mr B nor I saw this as an indication that our
marriage was about to wither like the lilac tree; we are made of stronger stuff. One day we will replace it – perhaps on our Golden Wedding Anniversary which, remarkably, is only just over two years away.
For the moment, I will glory in my tamarisk tree, stretching out its pink feathery-flowered branches to meet the spring sunshine.
not just a tree, you see, it’s a little piece of history.