Of trees and floods
In Spring the Spey valley is lit up by blossoming gean trees. They shine out among the shy birch and larch foliage and the dark winter green of the conifer woods. It's difficult to take a photo in my home village without a distillery popping up as well. So here I give you the Glenrothes distillery pagoda with geans, and below, the distillery warehouses.
Elsewhere in the village however trees have been sacrificed to the new flood defences. Two severe floods in recent years have led to a flood prevention scheme being put in place. Three burns run down from the hills to converge on the village. When they're in spate they're tremendously powerful, and changing rainfall patterns mean that drought is followed by concentrated heavy rains. Of course homes and businesses need to be protected, and that has to be the main concern, but walking up the course of the burn recently I wondered why so many trees needed to be cut down.
On the left in the photo below was a line of graceful, mature trees. Access was obviously needed to get in to the opposite bank, but did they need to take them all out?
Below, two houses stood where there is now new planting and a paved ramp down to the burn. The householders have been rehoused in very lovely new houses built to a high specification.
The new wall alongside distillery warehouses has led to the removal of a line of poplar trees.
Below, what used to be a small grassy field has now been landscaped within an inch of its life. It is quite startling to see urban landscaping along what used to be a natural river bank.
But here, this is where I suddenly felt a lump in my throat. They have cut down a magnificent lime tree which stood at the burn side of the green hut you can just see in the centre of the shot. It was a stately, grand tree. One of my happiest childhood memories is of standing under it when the blossom was out, listening to the "murmuring of innumerable bees" and breathing in the sweet scent as if I would somehow capture the essence of summer.
I'm doing the only thing I can do, which is to dedicate a tree through the Woodland Trust. If we had a big enough garden I would plant my own lime tree. But longer term, I have a plan for a bit of guerilla planting. I will bide my time.