Right outside my patio door, on the other side of a tall wall that runs the length of my garden is a beautiful tree.
It is a Linden Lime and one Britains rarest hardwood trees. About 100 years ago, it was not considered native to the UK but it is now fully established in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire. It is a large tree and can easily grow over 120 feet high. It is apparently, far more common on mainland Europe and particularly favoured by the Germans as their "Linden Tree" and it is told that dried lime flowers make an excellent drink as lime tea.
When we moved into our 'new' home 17 years ago it was November, the end of autumn and on the brink of winter. Its branches were stark, bare and eerily naked. As spring announced its arrival so did the bud like leaves on every branch, opening and growing to create the captivating lime green canopy of shade over my patio area.
Around 5 years after our arrival the 'owners' of the neighbouring garden called in tree surgeons. Apparently the length of its branches were dangerous and it needed 'dealing' with. I listened to the noise of the power saws and watched its beautiful limbs being massacred, I wept when I stood and looked up at its remains, now dark raw stumps and wondered if my beautiful tree would ever recover.
Of course, it did. Over a few years I watched as each spring its branches grew again, thicker and stronger and longer and once again its lime canopy overhangs my garden.
Due to its delightful colour on a bright sunny day and the lending of its protective arms over the wall of my garden I have forgiven it the onset of never-before-experienced-hayfever each June/July as its fluffy lime 'flowers' come to fruition and infiltrate the air with pollen, I have overlooked the litter-lout dropping of trillions of tiny dried and wizzened flowers at the end of summer and I have watched fondly as its leaves turn hues of gold and orange and then are discarded in their thousands over the length and breadth of my garden.
And then come winter it stands brazen in its nudity, offering no defence to the birds or squirrels that use it as a playground, but stands defiantly against the elements until spring returns.
I wanted to show you my beautiful companion through the seasons.