A new addition to the garden – eucalyptus gunnii. A request from my wife, which, fortunately, is something I wanted, too:

When I presented my new specimen proudly to my Mother-in-Law, she was concerned.

“Don’t they get quite big?” she said.

“I’m going to pollard it,” I said.

“It’s called widow maker,” she said.

My Dad was similarly cautious, though he understands pollarding.

After sending me a couple of eucalyptus news horror stories – huge severed limbs squashing cars – Dad forwarded an interesting article about eucalyptus planting in Essex.

The article states that Mr John Bateman, a local agriculturist and plant enthusiast, planted a large number of eucalyptus seedlings in Brightlingsea, my home town, from 1887.

By 1902, some 900 trees had been planted around the town, 200 of which remained into the ‘60s. Some remain today, though most have been felled or have fallen. Shallow roots, so they’re prone to wind-throw. Widow maker, indeed…

Still, it seems fitting to have one in my garden – a little piece of home. It will be restricted from growing huge, however – an annual chop should do the trick.

This provides the added benefit of lots of fresh young growth each year, which is beautiful – iridescent, like the oyster shells that litter the Essex coastline.

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