Sarah Horton’s Magnolia Tree

DSC05381As The Beatles nearly sang, ‘The best things in life are trees.’ Well some of the best things anyway. Every year they do what they do. The big things like draining the uplands and stopping flash floods, if we’re sensible and leave them where they are. But also the gentler things like enriching all of our lives with their changing beauty as the seasons come and go.

The other day on my long sunny walk around Liverpool I’d planned to end the walk with a flourish and show you Sarah’s magnolia tree in flower. However, as she turned out not to be at her allotment, the best I could do was photograph it from through the fence, some distance away. So not particularly spectacular then. Still, never mind, late this afternoon at the best time for a deeply blue sky, Sarah’s been to her allotment and taken pictures of her tree in its full glory, here at the end of March 2016.

Before looking at today’s pictures, let’s step back to November 2002. Sarah’s had her allotment for 18 months and by now has cleared the scrubland it was and got it designed and planted up ready for its centre-piece.

The magnolia tree arrives. In its pot.

The magnolia tree arrives. In its pot.

And is placed reverentially at the centre of her allotment.

And is placed reverentially at the centre of her allotment.

Just a twig.

Just a twig.

And yes, the annoying song that last caption might have reminded you of, as it did me, is ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro. Containing possibly the worst lyrics in a pop song ever. I present them here as a public service so you don’t have to Google them:

“See the tree, how big it’s grown
But friend it hasn’t been too long
It wasn’t big
I laughed at her and she got mad
The first day that she planted it, was just a twig”

Well the twig soon outgrew that neat little circle we’d provided for it to grow in. And quickly established late March and April as a time on the allotment neither of us would want to miss. Part of the constant colouring in and renewing of our lives.

Today Sarah approaches down the path and sees it across other people's allotments.

Today Sarah approaches down the path and sees it across other people’s allotments.

Then from her own allotment gate.

Then from her own allotment gate.

And then look.

And then look.

No words for a bit now. They would be superfluous.DSC05371 DSC05372 DSC05373 DSC05374 DSC05375

Not all the flowers are out yet. The furry coverings on them are bracts.

And the glorious pink petals are actually sepals.

And the glorious pink petals are actually tepals.

The hailstones of yesterday have knocked a few of the tepals off.

Forlornly beautiful.

Forlornly beautiful.

But beautiful.

But beautiful anyway.

And I think you can’t see too many pictures of this annual miracle.DSC05379 DSC05380 DSC05381

Late in the afternoon of a sunny blue day. Well done the magnolia tree. And Sarah Horton for the gorgeous pictures.

Other current delights in the garden here?

Tiny Tulip Turkestanica.

Tiny Tulip Turkestanica.

And Chinodoxia, 'Glory of the Snow'

And Chionodoxa, ‘Glory of the Snow’

But ending with the silent star of today’s performance.

Sarah's magnolia tree.

Sarah’s magnolia tree.

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