Three or four years ago, I planted a little corkscrew willow on a little island in the east pond. Which isn’t news; I’ve written about it before.
The little tree liked its little island-home, flourished and grew quickly – as corkscrew willows (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’) are prone to do anyway. And it formed a nice feature on a pile of bricks and a bit of earth in the middle of an expanse of clear water.
And I was pleased.
A couple of weeks ago, I arrived at The Priory and began my day with a walk about the grounds. I like to wander about first thing, clean my boots in the dew and check what’s what: has my Gunnera manicata finally become an Amazonian-sized monster? (nope); have deer chewed a favoured shrub or tree? (probably); is the rose-tunnel stunning? (rarely); do the long borders look good? (sometimes); have rabbits broken into the garden? (not for two or three years actually); any mole-hills on the east lawn? (occasionally); do the bird-feeders need filling? (almost always); and I also threw a brief indulgent glance at my graceful and now not-so-little-tree.
Damn. The willow had pitched head-first into the water and the island, no longer able to support the tree’s increased weight, had tipped over. Well, I wasn’t expecting that.
When I’ve got a moment, I’ll haul the heavy boat, Despondent, from where she currently lies on the other side of the garden (picture Humphrey Bogart dragging the African Queen), and paddle out on an adventure. I’ll saw off the willow trunk and hope the tree re-shoots and grows tall once more and straight.
And if in a few years time the tree dives into the pond again, never mind. It will be the perfect excuse to launch Despondent and indulge in some more messing about in a boat.