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Christopher’s Tree

A few weekends ago, Christopher’s step-father, Peter, phoned for a chat. Apropos of nothing much, he asked me “What was Christopher’s favourite tree?” Well, that stumped me! Christopher and I talked about many things in the twenty years we had together, but I don’t think we ever discussed favourite trees…..  After frantically thinking for a while, I remembered that we used to take a day off work most years to visit Westonbirt arboretum to look at the autumn colours, and he particularly enjoyed the groves of Japanese Maples aka acers. We have a small one in the garden which is pretty spectacular in the autumn. Plus, he really liked maple syrup (his cousins in upstate New York make their own, and it is absolutely delicious – and so much smokier with more depth of flavour than the stuff you can buy in  the shops). So I tentatively replied that I thought his favourite tree was probably the acer/maple. Then I asked the biggie – why did Peter want to know?

It turns out that he had recently been at a meeting of his village’s Woodland Trust, and they had acquired some more land that they were planting with saplings. In order to raise the money to do this, they proposed to offer people the opportunity to sponsor a tree. When Christopher’s mother died, Peter sponsored/dedicated a sapling in her memory. I think that was an ash tree, so I do hope that the ash die-back disease won’t affect it. That was over twenty years ago, so it must be a decent-sized tree by now. Peter was keen to do the same in Christopher’s memory, hence the question about the preferred tree. I was so glad I hadn’t said magnolia, which was the other one that sprang to mind, as that would be totally out of place in a British deciduous woodland! Peter had a word with the Woodland Trust people, and between them they settled on a Field Maple, which should grow well in the woodland, and is in the right family.

Christopher's tree

He’s kindly sent me a picture of it, and permission to use it. The plaque has Christopher’s name and dates, and the message “Much loved husband, son, brother and step-son”. I think it’s a very good idea – thank you very much indeed, Peter.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. David A | 24 November 2012 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    A lovely idea and a perfect choice of tree – I remember discussing maple photographs from Westonbirt with Chris, and he commented very kindly on one of mine on Flickr: (