I’ve always been fond of growing things from scratch, and have grown many trees from the seeds and berries that I’ve found lying around. Many years ago in fact in the late 1970’s if I was guessing, I sowed several acorns and was soon rewarded with several little oak trees.

I distributed these among my family and friends, (I’m not quite sure how they must have felt about it) keeping just one for myself. Whilst several of these trees survived into adolescence, some in pots, others in gardens, I’ve lost track of all of them now and suspect they will have gone the way of all flesh. Apart from mine that is.

For many years it grew quite happily in ever bigger pots, and then we moved to a house with a big garden. The previous owner, a man with dubious DIY credentials, had half built  a barbeque between our property and the next door house. We finished the job off with a nice little raised flower bed as we didn’t really want a barbeque. This is why we needed a ton of top soil.

Now, because of the position of the two properties, and the contours of the land, in one corner of this new bed was a sort of self contained planting area, completely surrounded by bricks, stones, concrete and the like, so we decided to put my oak tree in it.

With the benefit of hindsight this might not have been the most sensible place to put it, as it was quite near our house and very near next doors house. We did consider the root situation at the time, but decided the area was so well made there was no way the roots would ever escape or cause any damage.

Sadly our neighbour, an elderly widow, did not share our confidence. She commented on it’s proximity to her property and her fears about it roots. We assured her we would not allow it to cause damage. She was not assured.

I know this because a little while later I began to notice some funny stain marks appearing on the stone around the oak tree. Closer inspection and a keen sense of smell revealed these stains to be bleach. The old bat was pouring bleach on my oak tree, presumably trying to kill it.

Looking back maybe we deserved it, but it would have been nice if she’d tried talking to us again before taking such drastic action. Needless to say neighbourly relations never returned to there pre-bleach level, and I returned my oak tree to its pot and a place of safety.

I didn’t know if it would survive such treatment, but thankfully it did. When we moved here I was finally able to plant it in the ground, and it has rewarded me with a few acorns each year since. We keep it well trimmed and it seems to be very happy in it’s final resting place.