The Ides are upon us 🙂
                          The Equinox draws near.
                                                   and the Monkey Puzzle’s blooming
                                                                                           at Belsay this year.

25 Years ago this Monkey Puzzle tree in the grounds at Belsay was the same height as me. I stood next to it and touched its sharp top and ever since I have sort of thought of it as a friend, visited regularly. So when I was 38 it was a baby.

25 years is a long while in human terms but for a Monkey Puzzle that can live 1000 years, it’s a click, a snap, a moment. This tree must be about 30. It is just putting out its first flowers. And isn’t it beautiful!

It came as quite a surprise. I’d never thought about Monkey Puzzles flowering. Apparently they form cones that mature and then the seeds are rather like pine nuts and edible. Not that I would or could. It’s not my tree. But I am glad for her and happy she’s thriving.

I think it’s a pity that she probably won’t get to be 1000 years old. A lot can happen between then and now and she was planted there purely for decorative purposes and no doubt would be cut down when she gets too tall for that space (even if Belsay was still standing then). In 1000 years we will all be forgotten (most of us anyway). I am not being morbid — it’s just a fact. And by then even she would not remember the little plump woman who remained so small and used to visit almost every week and always say hello. Well — we all have to enjoy our flowering while we can.

For now she is my friend. And she’s blooming gorgeous!

The heading picture is from Cragside House — Nellies’ Moss Lakes.