For a moment the planet here in England rests for high summer. I study a tiny plant in a garden pot. It is a cutting. It seems to be surviving well. It came from a mulberry bush, about four feet high, which is planted in my lawn.
And that bush grew from the fruit of a mulberry tree gathered by a friend from the garden of William Shakespeare’s birthplace many years ago. It will probably be years before my bush bears fruit. The tree was, according to various reports including Kew Gardens, from a scion of a mulberry which grew there in Shakespeare’s time.
Not far from Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford on Avon is the home of Shakespeare’s son-in-law, Dr John Hall. Mrs Llew and I visited there some years ago. In the garden was an enormous mulberry tree, so great that it had collapsed and a great trunk grew along the ground, while branches stretched upwards.
There is a connection with Shakespeare’s mulberry but I don’t recall what that is. My mulberry tree, which gave the cutting, and also another of its berries, from which I grew another small tree, may one day be as immense as the tree in John Hall’s garden.
From the base of that second tree, a blue Canterbury bell has come into bloom. That grew from a stray seed. And generations on, who knows, the little cutting, which seems to flourish at the moment, will carry on the link.
Meanwhile, in this summer garden, the mock orange is in bloom and again, as I may have mentioned before in this blog, I remember the scent of this June flower, when I first encountered it in 1941, when my mother and I moved from Plymouth to a post-blitz London to live with my grandmother.