I planted trees just after I moved here 14 years ago. I planted the trees in the area all around our back garden gate, on the land that belongs to our local authority – it used to be coal board land. I had grown them all from seeds and cuttings with a friend where I used to live, and I brought some here and I dug holes and I stuck them in the holes. It used to be a metal-workers yard, it is quite hard to make a hole, they were more like shallow scratchings, but I did my best.
I didn’t ask pemission. I didn’t use any special methods or technologies. I didn’t make a fuss or care for the trees in almost any way. But I do pay attention and watch them grow.
The poplar that I planted is the furthest away. It is taller than the houses and has huge silver leaves that turn to gold at this time of year.
The crabs have an abundance of apples each year, and their blossoms are a local landmark by now. They were from the same batch, and planted next to one another, but their shapes are almost opposite. One is tall and graceful, one short and solid. They were labelled damson anyway, so that puts me in my place.
The horse chestnut and the beech and the birch are all tall and beautiful young trees now.
The willow and the dogwood might be my favourites. They grow their branches across the track, which scratches the caravans of the man who parks all his caravans up the top end of the track – in the area he has marked off. He cuts the branches back. I think the fences and signs made him feel like he owns the land, but it will be there long after he is gone.
And the spindle trees. The spindles have had a set back, after being cut to the ground gratuitously by a man from the council in a tractor digger. It meant that they had to grow back – and that means that they are not as tall and stately as they might be. But I have enjoyed their colours so very much, and I have little else to show you for today, although I feel like something is coming into fruitfulness – something that I will try to share very soon. So anyway, here is to the spindle trees.