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Saturday, December 10, 2011


This is the second in a series of
posts inspired by the
Garden Media Guild Awards 2011
and the people I met
at the lunch in London
where winners were announced.
For the first in this series click HERE

In my garden is a Golden Bay - a three trunked tree as high as the eaves. It was twelve inches when it came to live with me (if that) and when I moved, it moved too - so this is its second home.

It didn’t grow too fast at first but, once it got its roots into this garden - where the surface of the earth is builder wrecked and useless (but where there are the remains of a marsh deep down) it has thrived. (Should be ‘thriven’.) And it has grown and grown and grown. And it is still growing! I don’t know how tall it will grow but it appears to be accelerating. Maybe it will screech to a stop. Or not! Maybe we have a Jack and the Beanstalk Bay.

Remember I mentioned that I sat by a tree-seller at the GMG lunch? He sells cloud bonsais - giant bonsai trees that look like tall sticks with pom-poms on them. (This isn’t his site - but you can see the kind of thing here.) And he sells trees which will live in the entrance halls of large companies. And ready grown trees with which to create instant landscapes.

* * *

When we were little, my brother used to make false price labels and stick them to the undersides of Christmas presents to give the impression he had spent more on them than he had. We weren’t fooled. £100,000 would be a bit pricey for a book. But it really does cost thousands of pounds to buy a really big tree so, were I ever to buy one, I’d ask the grower to throw in a very durable price tag and I’d attach it discreetly to a twig - so it showed.

But would I want one?
Would I want a mature tree?

As someone who grows from seeds and cuttings, my first instinct was that I jolly well wouldn’t . . . and then I thought . . . imagine having a huge landscape to fill; traditional English parkland; a valley protected by hills with a river running through; a ridge that can be seen from all the towns around; a micro-climate where exotics would flourish. What then?

It’s all very well planting an acorn but why wait till you’re dead till you see it as an oak?

And I’ve been dreaming myself a garden ever since; a massive one that covers acres.

One must take care, it seems, not to let dreams be limited by the size of one’s pockets. ‘I’ll buy a new rose,’ I think, or ‘Some daffodil bulbs’. But why?

Why think small? What is the point of an imagination if I can’t use it to re-design Dorset and fill it with wonderful trees?

(But I wouldn’t want to put a tree in a hall. It might look good but I’d feel like a jailor - cruel.)

For a virtual tour of Europlant, click here.

3 comments: said...

Pretty darn funny on the price tags. You are right, full grown trees are worth showing off the price paid. Even the little jailed bonsai.

Elephant's Eye said...

Remember, do you, when it seemed odd to have the designer's name, printed outside, on clothes? Now it's hard to find clothes without their designer tag in your face.

I usually leave the price tag on plants, for the NAME until I know it off by heart.

Esther Montgomery said...

Hello Garden Walk. You are right. Bonsai trees can be expensive too. These cloud ones are not little though - which came as a surprise to me. They are as big as a person.

Hello Elephant's Eye. In real life, I don't like tags on plants. I generally bury labels in the earth beside them so they don't show - but I can refer to them if I want to. Sometimes, I dig one up in an empty space and am reminded of a plant I planted but which didn't like its new home and died. Nothing is left but its reminder label.