A Tree Blether
Christmas is now past. I
hope it was a good one. On this general festive theme I once toyed with the idea
of growing Christmas trees on a small scale - a small scale business venture
really - but never got round to it in the end. Maybe when I retire?
There's money in Christmas trees, you see.
Mind you, many years ago when we lived in a small house with a garden that
backed onto woods I took it upon myself to acquire a fresh Christmas tree
straight from the ground. It's not a good idea to go digging up trees
willy-nilly of course, oh no, far better to pay fifteen pounds for a dead and
rootless one instead, but I was young, impoverished and full of justification
for such a dastardly deed; and anyway it was self-sown, on land soon to be
quarried and nobody would ever know, or so I reasoned at the time. I would
replant it after the festivities were over of course, though not in the same
spot to be bulldozed by the quarry men, oh no, certainly not, what a waste, but
in a secluded area of the garden to be re-used again next year. That's
re-cycling for you!
So one afternoon in mid-December I set off into the gathering dusk with a spade
in one hand, a torch in the other, and a mind full of improbable excuses just in
case I was unlucky enough to meet anyone else out and about at that time of day.
As I wandered gaily along (looking for all the world like a suspicious
character about to dig up a Christmas tree to lug back to the fireside) I saw
other shadowy figures in the half-light of that crisp afternoon. We passed each
other like ships in the night, heads down, silent, possibly the odd Highland
grunt of acknowledgement, possibly not, but all seriously intent on anonymity.
They were "at it" in the woods, doing the same as me, Christmas time
was looming, the spades were out, the goose was getting fat. I even spotted a
tree in the distance bobbing along under its own steam with a most peculiar loping gait. Surely, I reasoned, somewhere beneath that foliage
there must be a person with a spade, for how else could it move like that - how
else could it move at all!
Once the tree was up, neatly positioned beside the fireplace and bedecked in
festive spangly things, we eagerly anticipated the arrival of the 'The Bearded
One' - Santa - who always appeared on Christmas Eve (between 6 and 7pm) sitting
comfortably in the back of a pick-up truck dispensing lollipops to the children
of the district in exchange for a wee dram from the adults of the household. Ho,
ho, ho. By the time he'd reached our house many a lollipop had been dispensed,
many a wee dram quaffed, and he'd subsequently adopted the ruddy and brazened
look of a festive beacon.
But gone are the days of jolly Santas in pick up trucks - more's the pity -
although in certain parts of the country, prior to Christmas, the odd wandering
conifer can still be spotted in the gathering dusk of a late afternoon. Some
traditions never die out, do they? Not completely.
(Copyright: Patrick Vickery)
Tomato Blether - January, 2002
Hare Blether - March, 2002
A Surreal Blether - April, 2002
Slug Blether - May, 2002
Goat Blether - June, 2002
A Half-Man, Half-Garden Blether - July, 2002
A Blaze Blether - August, 2002
An Inanimate Object Blether - September, 2002
A Notable Quotable Blether - October, 2002
A Plant Blether - November, 2002
A Compost Blether - December, 2002
A Copper Beech Blether (or a chainsaw pruning!) - January,
A Heron Blether - February, 2003
A Bergenia Blether - March, 2003
A Rose Blether - April, 2003
A Critter Blether - August, 2003
Patrick Vickery is a garden
writer who lives in the Scottish Highlands. He runs a small perennial
plant nursery and has one book published to date: 'In Pursuit Of Perennial
Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden' (Capall Bann Publishers.
ISBN: 186163 1480), a 'How To' book about the propagation of hardy perennial
plants in an environmentally friendly way, and how to make your garden productive in a variety of ways for both expert and
gardening enthusiasts alike - at minimum cost and in an innovative and exciting
way. And - of course - how to sell the plants you grow (should you wish to) to
raise money (not a fortune) for yourself or a particular charity or cause.
Patrick is married with
three children, lives in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world, uses
a raised bed system of propagation and has two dogs, a cat and two goats. His
second book - 'Gardening Tales - Blethers and Grunts' - a collection of anecdotal tales concentrating
on the more humourous side of gardening (particularly the things that go wrong!)
has recently been completed.
Patrick's book can be
bought from an absolutely fascinating website full of gardening, herbal,
mystical, and magical books that one would never find anywhere else. The
address is www.capallbann.co.uk.