In my first Post- “City Trees”- I mentioned my relationship with Conker Trees- Horse Chestnut Trees. Recently, I made contact with the Artist Joel Tauber who has a love-affair with a previously uncared for Sycamore Tree in a parking lot. You will find his beautiful story on the link below. Two days ago he forwarded an email describing how his now cherished tree has produced “babies” that he is finding homes for. This brought back memories of my Conker Trees which I shared with him and will now share with readers:
As a kid- in the UK on the Malvern Hills- in our garden I planted a Conker which grew magnificently and- after about 10 years- produced its first Flowers. Being in London at the time-at Chelsea Art School- I was determined not to lose the first conkers. I therefore protected the flowers with hair-nets when the seeds started to form. All went well and my first Baby Conker was born. The next year, the original tree produced many more flowers, so I took over a prime part of my dad's vegetable garden to turn it into a Conker Nursery! The 'First Born' I gave to my brother- first it went with me on a train to a London garden but it is now in the garden of the Royal Crescent in the City of Bath in the UK. Two more 'babies' joined it and when my brother left the house he had a Preservation Order put on it (similar to a Landmark in this country) so IT CANNOT BE CUT DOWN.
The other babies in the Malvern nursery I gave to an environmental group that looked after the Malvern Hills. They planted them all over the hills and commons in the area.
My original Conker grew & grew and my parent's garden became a wood and the house very dark...
When my daughter was born in London, I took a Conker from my original tree and planted it in our garden- and it, too, grew and grew....and when I left a few years ago I had a Preservation Order put on that too- so it CANNOT BE CUT DOWN....
Yet another of the babies is in the garden of my brother's present house in Bath (an image of it to be found in the first Post-“Woodland Garden”).
Before my wonderful Sister-in-Law Bunny (I have had 3 wonderful Sisters-in-Laws) died of cancer in September 2002 she asked me for one of my trees as she wanted to be buried in a "Woodland Cemetery"- instead of a tombstone, each person has a Tree- and so a forest will eventually grow. What could be more perfect? I have added an image of it below. It looks a bit sad because, like many Horse Chestnuts in the UK, it has been attacked by a leaf miner- a moth, Cameraria ohridella. At present it is believed the damage caused is insignificant, effecting the appearance but not the life of the trees. When this photo was taken it had a very healthy, gleaming, leading sticky bud.