Trees are among the more beautiful, majestic and interesting wonders of nature. I have always had a good relationship with trees. My first memory ever was of walking or being pushed in a pram along a wall, and what I could see were trees, it was winter so the branches were stark, and I heard the bark of a dog. It is a good memory. While going to kindergarten I remember running across a yard lined with trees, it was a little scary at that time. After that our family moved into a street that was lined with wild chestnut and poplar trees, this was wonderful, we kids would use the leaves in our daily play, not only leaves were used but any pine cones or conkers we would find too, these were lovely natural items to use for play, I’m happy we had those. Another scare happened when a huge branch of a poplar tree fell through the roof of our bungalow during one winter’s storm, I was shaking with fright. Quite a few years later my sister and I went to school in Antwerp city, again a strong connection with trees was made in the inner yard of the convent school, beautiful trees. And it is in autumn that trees seem to come into their own, the scents of the leaves, the colours, the wind blowing through the branches and the leaves falling and falling. After coming to Ireland eventually, I got to know the awesome ancient oak trees in Glengarriff forest. I would not walk in that forest on my own then as I felt such a strong presence of the trees, too powerful.
During my life so far, trees have enthralled me, scared me, fascinated me, given me much joy, and I have loved them always.
Meet the trees in my garden. This is the Birch that we grew from a small little sapling growing alongside the road some twenty years ago. Its grown into a beautiful tall tree and it gives much protection to the birds, the rooks sit in it every winter’s morning waiting for me to feed them.
The silhouettes of the Hawthorn tree, this tree came to grew here by itself, the little seedling grow right beside the old Lilac tree that was getting very old, I had to consider cutting it down, and letting this Hawthorn take its place. This tree is most in use by the small birds, from Sparrows, to Finches, to Blue Tits, they sit and twitter and keep a keen eye on the birdfeeder to see if it is free from the Rooks, so that they can feed carefree.
And here is the Mediterranean Oak, that grows in the back of the garden, it believes in keeping its large brown leaves most of the winter, though secretly it has buds ready for spring hidden in between. This is the Robin’s favourite tree, high up so that it can look down on where the best worms are to be found.
It’s comrade is this fine Pine tree, we also picked it up on the side of the country road a long time ago. Sometimes it throws a few large Pine cones. Often in the evening the Blackbird sits on the highest branches singing his heart out.
And finally this is the winter appearance of the Chestnut tree. When my daughter was in her early teens we started it off from a conker, it grew in a flower pot at first but soon we transplanted it into the garden where it has been ever since. My grandchildren climb in it these days, it’s a wonderful tree, very sturdy and strong. The Doves love this tree and perch there every morning.
My trees give me lots of pleasure, seeing the buds during winter, the first tender leave in spring, the abundance of lush foliage in summer, and the beautiful colours in autumn, they make the garden a place of hope, of restfulness, of beauty, and of meditation.