Trees aren't really in need of adornment beyond foliage, flower and fruit. Any 'extras' merely interfere with the messages transmitted in shape, position and movement. Some of the most persistent negatives of our throwaway society, are those discarded items that end up all twig-tangled and torn among the branches. Carrier bags, for instance. High on the wind, their rising, tumbling bid for freedom ends, as it does for many of us, with a snag. Defiantly wrestling the elements, they're held firm until they represent little more than faded shreds, ribbons of residue, symbols of cock-eyed consumerism.
So, when I first saw this beautiful tree in the grounds of Mottisfont Abbey, trailing coloured strips from its trunk and limbs, I wasn't sure how I felt. It's a memory tree, each tied length of tape representing a thought, a snapshot of a time in a life.
As I assisted our granddaughters in attaching their chosen ribbons to low hanging boughs, a swell of emotion indicated to me that this was something special, this dreamy display, this roll call of reminiscence. As the breeze picked up, I found myself asking, where better to secure those fluttering frailties we call memories, than from the arms of a tall tree?