Four years ago on a beautiful September morning, I was working in a part of our garden which borders a fairly busy B road, cutting down lots of the spent flower stems of lupins, euphorbia, chrysanthemums and hesperis and admiring the height and maturity of two of our trees, one a maple, acer drummondii, with green and cream foliage, the other a beautiful oak, with clusters of little acorns.
Since it was particularly warm and dry, it was a good opportunity also to harvest seed from my annuals - poppies, nigella and foxgloves. Feeling hot after working for a few hours, I sat down under the shade of the mature trees, while labelling the seed and putting it into brown paper bags. Little did I suspect it would be the last time I would ever sit under those trees.
Next morning while still in bed, we heard a thundering crash, followed by a very loud screeching sound of metal slicing through stone. Ricocheting out of bed, my heart pounding, I parted the curtains and stared in disbelief, at a scene of utter devastation. The whole top part of the garden I had been working in the previous day had disappeared. There in its place was an overturned trailer with thirty-two bales of straw.
Quickly throwing on our dressing gowns, my husband and I, with phone at the ready to call the Emergency Services, rushed up the drive to ascertain the welfare of the driver. Nowhere in sight, we later learned that he had abandoned his tractor and scurried off along the road to a neighbouring farm where he had been drinking whisky, no doubt to steady his nerves after the shock of his accident.
Meanwhile, someone else had called the police, who arrived quickly and began to direct the traffic around the mayhem of debris scattered across the road. Suddenly, curious neighbours from the village began to gather around to survey the upturned trailer with the thirty-two bales of straw, and to stare, open-jawed, at the enormous gaping hole where the missing 60 feet of stone wall had stood as a border between our garden and the road.
Flambouyant! - Today's flambouyant (Royal poinciana) blooms take the show. I grew this tree from seeds I collected in Guyana 5 and a half years ago.
1 year ago