Flowering plum

Yesterday we planted a tree.

I’ve been looking at trees for about a year, for a tight spot in terms of size, shape and soil type. Much research and consulting and asking around and changing opinion and reading gardeners blogs, and finally and decisively I settled on an Agonis Flexuosa Jervis Bay ‘After Dark’, for its small size and dark purplish leaves.

This is a variation on the evergreen willow myrtle, with its peppermint fragranced leaves and white flower. I’m a big fan of myrtles. I like a choice that has an already lucky element in it.

Add to this that it likes coastal air, tolerates wind and various forms of neglect, and “makes a beautiful screen”.  All good, especially as I’m trying to screen a new road bridge that has taken two years of heavy construction to confirm that it crests the roofline of our neighbour’s garage and looks into our back yard, if anyone’s interested.

I can’t resent this bridge.  I like flying over it myself as we come home — it’s a fairground ride that suddenly gives you a strange and thrilling view of a town you know only from the pavement up.  If you look at just the right moment you can see the ocean.  Plus the council built it at great expense to try to reduce accidents at a notorious road blackspot, so it’s hard to dislike.

But it’s a concrete bridge with clear reinforced side panels to stop people jumping off it, and standard council lamposts, and wires.  As I look up at the view from the backyard, it’s not particularly pretty.  In fact, the only concrete road structures I’ve ever seen that dealt with this well were in Albuquerque, where:

… the ramps and bridges are all painted in pastel hues of pink, tan and turquoise. The bridge abutments and retaining walls are artistically decorated with Indian designs. The very roads and civil constructions of this city are imbued with the essence of southwestern culture.

I think it’s probably true that the very civil constructions of this part of the world are also imbued with the essence of local council culture, so fair’s fair.

But this is why I’ve been searching for a tree that would filter our view of it, while not blocking out sunlight from my neighbour’s washing line.

So here’s the thing.  I went to the garden centre with a year’s worth of planning and research firmly in mind, a definite tree in view—a tree that I had recently seen there.

And came home with Prunus Cerasifera ‘Nigra’ instead.

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