In a large flower pot in my garden juicy green shoots of willow are sprouting. They are growing from the roots of a dead stump of the parent plant. They are good news. I had thought the little tree was beyond rescue.
There is a history to the dead stump. In its turn it was the descendant of another willow tree. I call it the Finchley willow. When our children were young Mrs Llew decided she wanted to plant such a tree in the garden of our then home in London N.3. ‘It will grow and one day we’ll all sit under it’, she said.
So we planted the willow and it grew tall: too tall because it was quite close to the house. So we had to cut it down and I dumped the cuttings under an old pear tree, the fruit of which the starlings loved – just as well because any pears that survived were rotten before they were fully ripe; our children will remember that tree.
A few weeks later I noticed that the willow cuttings were sprouting. I stuck some in the ground, farther away from the house and they flourished.
When, after 30 years, we moved from Finchley to Oxfordshire I decided to bring some rooted sprigs of the willow with us. Ten years on I thought our Finchley willow was gone. But no. It’s growing again. I think this Spring’s drenching rain have helped it.
There’s symbolism here, I think.