Thursday, 19 February 2009

Sufficient Unto The Day

When the two men came to line the drain earlier this week, they had concerns about the exact layout of the main ones beneath ground, with the end result they actually did nothing but a lot of humming and haa-ing. Yesterday another chap appeared with a new fangled, underground camera. Now I wait with trepidation for a telephone call to give me the results. Can't you just see the pound signs looming? Time will tell, and it will be soon enough to wince after they give me a quote.

In the meantime, my beautiful eucalyptus tree which must have sparked everything off, must be offered up to the nature gods as a sacrifice. Next Monday a different team of specialists will come and demolish it, branch by branch, before my very eyes. It has served me very well since 1992 when I planted it - a £1.50, eighteen inch, spindly youngster from the Woman's Institute in Chichester.

It has already cost me a fair bit over the years, keeping it under control, and will now notch up another £200, but I don't begrudge a penny of it . I've adored it from day one, and only wish I had a garden big enough to let it continue growing in all its glory. It has shaded my house from the broiling summer sun, tossed its grey-green leaves at the frolicking winds of March and provided foliage for numerous bouquets of flowers. Life will be a sadder and a hotter place without it. Hail and Farewell, O Tree!

When I moved here in the far off 1990's, the minute patch of grass I laughingly called a front garden, was only surpassed by the slab paved monstrosity at the rear, which laboured under the grand name 'patio'. Granted, there were patio doors leading to it, but that was where the similarity ended. Luckily, vertical blinds allowed me to block it out of my sight most of the time. Most of the square slabs were an unprepossessing stone grey, but the former lady of the house was a pink freak, and along with several pink carpets, pink hallway and pink highlighted living room ceiling, she had even chosen dingy pink slabs by way of a change from the light stone ones. Yuk.

At the time of viewing, there had been one standard rose in a slab sized patch of earth in one corner, and three hanging baskets on various fence posts. All of which were gone by the day I actually moved in. On the plus side, they did leave the light bulbs and the place was scrupulously clean - including the slabs which glared their hideousness in the hot sun (it was one of those summers - we do get them occasionally). Not hard to see why I wrote the following ditty...

Alternative Garden

The garden was totally concrete,
its chequerboard flagstones a sight
to dampen the gardening spirit,
though bathed in a warm summer light.

No flora or fauna enlivened the view,
no shade from a tree or a shrub;
not a solitary leaf, or a stem, or a flower
to sustain an unfortunate grub,

should it dare to put in an appearance
by wriggling under the gate,
or scaling the slatted wood, vertical fence
in its unending search for a mate.

I bought a few tubs and containers,
plus some composts in colourful sacks,
all providing a small splash of colour
as they stood in their teetering stacks

awaiting the hesitant, first potting up
of the trays full of tender young shoots,
all eager(like me) in their spacious new home
to establish some permanent roots.

Unaided, my garden apparently thrived.
Now slugs slither, while passing cats fight,
as aphids, black fly, lace wings and snails
munch away to their small hearts' delight...


  1. Luckily your green fingers fought the pink slabs.
    Have you found out what/who you are yet?

  2. should it dare to put in an appearance
    by wriggling under the gate,
    or scaling the slatted wood, vertical fence
    in its unending search for a mate.

    wow....liked the whole post and above lines were too good.


  3. So sorry you had had to sacrifice your lovely Eucalyptus. I have one a few years old and it is so lovely. No chance of a cutting from your tree to start one again? They grow so quickly, but then it might be a few years down the line till it gets to its shady phase, and that is what you will miss most. Darn that drain!!!
    Love the poetry, you're such a clever thing.
    Love Granny

  4. Loved the poem, mourn the passing of poor Eucy.

  5. I can't tell if the slabs are still there and you have a container garden or whether the slabs are gone. I had a garden in our previous place but not here. And our previous owner planted two destined-to-be-huge Maples in the small backyard. They had to come down last autumn before they got to be a problem.

  6. Like the poem, but it is a sadness, the fate of your tree.

  7. OH I LOVE Eucalyptus trees! they're gorgeous! Oh well, It seems like you've done the best with such a fully paved back garden as that.. hmm.. must've been so hard. Of course now, I'm sure it looks like a regular potted fairy garden!

  8. Shame about your tree. I planted a willow when I was very young. You can actually take a small branch from a willow and place it in water and it will produce roots. Anyway, it grew as I did and I loved looking at it in my yard. Around my 20th birthday, the landlord cut it down, without my permission. I came home one day and it was not there - just a stump. Very sad, I was. I empathize with you over your tree.

  9. That's so unfortunate about your Eucalyptus. That's a heart-breaker.

  10. It always saddens me when a tree comes down. Our next door neighbor lost half of her maple tree in a massive windstorm last autumn. Then along came an early snowstorm - huge amounts of heavy, wet snow - that hit before the leaves had a chance to fall.

    The result? The entire city was pockmarked by downed trees and streets filled with massive branches, splintered wood and countless leaves. It was so, so sad, and even now, I look at what's left and shake my head.

    Thankfully, it'll grow back, as it always does.

  11. Oh! you are losing a tree! ... I love to lean on tree bark and listen for its stories...we have trees so very old here, and their bark looks ancient - I put my hand on the rough surface and lay my palm flat and wait....smiling...

  12. I think we are all going into mourning for your Eucalyptus! My favourite tree by far. Thank you visiting my blogs. How you came across me I'm not sure but I'm pleased you did as in doing so you led me here!

  13. As an avid gardener, who is selling my home and therefor my garden, I quickly entered mourning with you for your beloved servant and friend, the tree.

    I will miss my garden dearly. It is partly pictured in my blog banner at the current time, as I am holding on to the memories of summers, spent tending it, that will pass too soon...

  14. The tree we gave up to the sewer gods was much older but it was also wrecking havoc with the sidewalk. It was a beautiful tree though.
    Isn't it odd that one person's beauty is another person's ugly.
    Your poem, as usual, was magnificent.

  15. That poem is absolutely amazing.
    We loved it.
    That poor eucalyptus...

    - Avery & Bella

  16. I'm sorry you have to lose your eucalyptus, Jinksy. Is it the kind that you could take branches from and make into some kind of dried arrangement, or even keep in a vase? Some of the leaves are beautiful.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm going to follow yours. I like your sense of humor!

  17. For my eldest son's first Christmas in 1970, I bought a living tree with the idea to use it every year. I babied that pine tree for years, until it grew too large for both the pot it was in and the house. Finally, I gave in and planted it in my back garden, where it stayed until 1985.

    When its roots started buckling the wall that surrounded the garden (shared with another house), I had to have it cut down. I died a million deaths the day that the guys in the ball caps came out to cut it down, with no interest or regard of what the tree meant to my son and me.

    I so understand your post!


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