Senan Of Somerset
Senan Of Somerset


In the interest of the environment, I have recycled the above image! You may have seen it before in the article “Feeling pruned”. The reality is that it is a picture of what was my favourite apple tree; a russet which produced a stunning and delicious apple. It also took me many years to produce the “espalier” shape. Unfortunately it succumbed to an overwhelming attack by woolly aphid, and over the course of two years despite my efforts, it was destroyed by this little insect. I love both plants and insects in my garden and try not to use any chemicals to control either, so it became an inevitable fact that the tree would be no more. So I put the tree out of its misery by ringing the bark at the base of the tree. (a non-chemical means of killing a tree whilst leaving standing wood). I thought the remaining dead trunk and branches would make an excellent frame for a passion flower vine…

But the tree had different plans. Two years on after ringing, and, rather significantly towards the end of our “lockdown”, this happened…

The new grown is above the original nurseryman’s graft, so it is a Russet! So I’ve cut away the dead wood.

I have decided to honour this resurrection from the dead in two ways. First, I will allow it to grow. Second, I will allow it to grow freely – no more espalier!

The analogies with the lockdown are obvious and I’m not going to bore you with a classic 3 point sermon, save to say this. I think I’m going to try and be less “espalier” about my thinking. Perhaps its time to grow, and to allow others to grow, with a little more freedom than before.

Adding a little freedom can produce some astonishing results… I found this growing in a “wild and free” area of my garden…

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