After Keith died I bought an old farmhouse and moved to the country. At first I hadn’t been able to identify what it was that had fascinated me about the place. But after a month or so I realised that the trees that gave it its shaded aspect were consistently odd. Their multiple trunks and low canopies created an otherworldly feel.
I asked around. No one seemed to know what gave the trees their unique form. So I called the old farmer who’d had the place before me. ‘Bloody trees,’ he muttered. ‘She planted them all when I brought her here, and she watched ’em grow until they was big an’ tall. An’ then she left me with ’em. Went off with him. So I took a chainsaw to ’em. An’ after I lopped ’em all I somehow didn’ have the heart to take ’em out. For a long time they was just rows of stumps. But one by one they sprouted. Now look at it.’
I smiled and thanked him and knew, at last, why I felt so drawn to my indomitable garden.