For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.
-Herman Hesse,Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte.
These lovely flowers belong to the best thing in my garden, a thirty foot eucryphia tree. It is columnar, with a semi-weeping habit, and evergreen. So already it earns its place as a good garden tree. But, as if that weren’t enough, every July/August, it bursts forth in a froth of large white blooms, with pretty pink anthers, and a sweet scent.
And, best of all, the honey bees love it. In fact, the children call it ‘bee tower’. The garden thrums with the sound of happy bees.
Eucryphia pollen is very fine indeed, little more than dust. The bees look as if they have been sugar frosted as they go about their business.
At times, they are almost frenetic, as if frantic to collect and preserve this bounty while it lasts.
I can claim no gardening credit for this tree – it was here when we moved in ten years ago. I am told they are difficult to establish and fussy in their needs but this one seems to be happy with benign neglect. Long may it last.
Do you have a favourite insect-friendly garden plant/tree?
“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself-consciously to the soughing of the trees.”
Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth