I Capsize The Island

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.

Capsize the Island (2)

May 2015 (with Despondent behind)

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.

Capsize the Island (3)

April 2017

And I was pleased.

But then.

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.

Capsize the Island (6)

Please don’t mention the summer duckweed. I don’t like to talk about it

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.

Capsize the Island (8)

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.

Silver linings.

45 thoughts on “I Capsize The Island

  1. Lovely to hear from you again, David.

    Am I alone in hoping for a follow up post featuring a series of shots of you righting the island? Actually I’m thinking that there’s a blockbuster movie in there somewhere too. You know, lone man battles to drag Despondent through the undergrowth, fends off mortal attack by ducks, dodges shark which unbeknownst to all lurks in the depths, uses every last ounce of strength to do the right thing by the tree before collapsing with exhaustion only to be rescued as he draws his very last breath by a gang of grimly Germans. Cue happy ending accompanied by chorus of the above singing G&S over shots of happy, smiling tree. I’ll go and get the popcorn now… Ceri

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I never knew they needed to stand in the water, I had a tree like that and it was just in the soil (sandy soil) and it did well, very well indeed untill it got ruined by a heavy storm. I like the duckweed by the way. My pond is smaller ofcourse so it is easier to remove when it is getting too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most years, during the summer, the water level is low enough for me get out there and even build a more robust, walled ‘island’ and perhaps prop up the tree. Propping up the tree as it is won’t stabilise the island, so I think I’ll cut it and see what happens next! D

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Willows aren’t really our thing out here, but it sticks in my mind that cut willow branches root easily—like, even if you just think watery thoughts at them. When you cut the trunk, could you maybe find yourself with a second lovely willow in need of an island? Not that you need another silver lining when you already have the Despondent…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hullo Stacy, I have willows galore thanks – watery thoughts or no. The only other island (a proper island) already has its very own huge weeping willow so I’m afraid the fallen willow trunk will be carried off to the bonfire. But from its ashes …. D

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had been asking, do you know for whom the bell tolls? They said, a clod washed away, don’t ask. Or something like that. We sank a rubber tub in the garden, to make a miniature bog area, and planted a corkscrew rush, but it’s now being shaded too much by neighboring trees, and is not only sparse, but less spiraling. Well I won’t weep for your willow just yet, hope it re-sprouts for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I shan’t weep for your corkscrew rush either, Robert, yet. Thanks for the wish for re-sprouting. As soon as I can garner the energy to haul Despondent, I’ll go investigate. (And hunt the clod). D


    • Hi Jenny, I have another corkscrew willow in the garden which is now enormous – and nowhere near any water. It began life as a tiny trimming from a neighbour’s garden stuck in a pot. Sorry, I’m not closer – you’d be very welcome. D


  5. I so feel for the poor willow. Couldn’t you let a professional island-erector set up a new and more steadfast home for this brave little tree? Isn’t there a budget for something so silly? We live at Lake Groß Glienicke, Berlin, and there’s always an army of builders who repair our shore protections. Should I send some of these grimly men over to do some thoroughly German work on your pond island? I’m afraid I can’t read a post like that without wishing for an instant happy ending … Glad that you’re back anyways …

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d be very happy indeed for some grimly German men to turn up at The Priory. And even repair the island! Next to no budget for anything, I’m afraid, hence me mucking about in a boat is the solution.

      Groß Glienicke?!? I’ve just read The House by the Lake. Have you? I feel I know it really well though I’ve never been. Great book if you haven’t read it. D


  6. I’m so glad you’re back, even if it’s only once in a while. Your postings always make me smile and are a source of encouragement. I can hardly wait to share this posting with my gardening friends!! We will form the Canadian chorus for the mikado songs…lol

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Welcome back! I’d almost given up hope. Must turn posting notifications back on. While you’re messing about in the pond, you might like to do a bit of weed removal too. Though I must admit the contrast between the first two and the last two photos is rather stunning. My pond (which isn’t quite as big) has been duck- and blanket- weed free for some 18-19 years. Until this year. Soddit.

    I shall now stroll off into the distance singing an excerpt from The Mikado. You know the one ….. “Willow, tipped willow, tipped willow”…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah John, such a warm welcome. Thanks. I’ve got a little net on a bamboo stick in the greenhouse for catching trapped butterflies, bees and dragonflies. You’re welcome to borrow it and scoop out as much duckweed as you can manage. I’ll watch.

      Like yours, the ponds were free of ‘weed for the first few years I worked here. I’m hoping they will be one day again. I wonder whether it wasn’t introduced by ducks flying in – which would sort of make sense.

      Please carry on singing. It’s quite sublime



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