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Church Gardens – October 2023

The Queen’s Tree

Our Sorbus aucuparia has produced beautiful foliage this year and we are really hopeful that in May or June next year we will have cream-white five petal flowers and then beautiful red berries in autumn. Rowan trees which are grown from seed typically take around 10 years to begin displaying flowers, though some may take a lot longer – 15 or even 20 years has been reported. However ours should have a head start with the upper part (called a scion) having been grafted onto the rootstock of a more mature rowan tree. The mature rowans are hanging with berries this year and are a great food source for birds and humans alike.

The 18th-century poet wrote an affectionate tribute – Oh Rowan Tree

O rowan tree, O rowan tree! thou’lt aye be dear to me!
Intwined thou art wi’ mony ties o’ hame and infancy.
Thy leaves were aye the first o’ spring, thy flowers the simmer’s pride;
There wasna sic a bonnie tree in a’ the country side.
O rowan tree!

How fair wert thou in simmer time, wi’ a’ thy clusters white,
How rich and gay thy autumn dress, wi’ berries red and bright!
On thy fair stem were mony names which now nae mair I see,
But they’re engraven on my heart—forgot they ne’er can be!
O rowan tree!

We sat aneath thy spreading shade, the bairnies round thee ran,
They pu’d thy bonnie berries red, and necklaces they strang.
My mother! O I see her still, she smiled our sports to see,
Wi’ little Jeanie on her lap, and Jamie at her knee.
O rowan tree!

O there arose my father’s prayer, in holy evening’s calm;
How sweet was then my mother’s voice in the Martyr’s psalm!
Now a’ are gane! we meet nae mair aneath the rowan tree!
But hallowed thoughts around thee twine o’ hame and infancy,