Any time of year it is the time for trees, as autumn reaches it peak they have that moment when you stop and consider their beauty with wonder. Every year feels like it is the first time I have seen their autumn colour and I hope that this sense of awe never dissipates. I was looking from an upstairs window the other day and realised how beautiful the Cericidiphyllum japonicum, or Katsura tree was looking at the moment. At that very particular moment, to be more precise, because the glory of autumn is fleeting and stands still for no one.
The colour of the candyfloss scented leaves makes a great focul point. As I stood and thought about how much I love this view, I wondered whether joining the gap in the pleached hornbeans was such a good idea after all. When successfully joined this view will no longer exist in the same way. On saying that, the Cericidphyllum will itself be taller; the view continually evolves. There in that thought it the great joy of all gardens, they shift and change, it is never quite the same one year to the next and that is their gift to us. As things grow, die, flop, the view changes, the opportunities expand and nothing stays the same.
I wandered outside to appreciate the tree at a more friendly distance. I love this tree more than is reasonable. It has been in the garden nine years now, bought on the Isle of Man probably the last time I visited there. The tree is beautiful for much all year, the new growth is delicate and delightful. The heart-shaped leaves shine red and the stems that attach them to the tree continue this red thread. The tree when fully leafed demonstrates dappled as if it was its middle name. Then comes the autumn and the scent of candyfloss pervades the garden. Sometimes the scent is when I am close to the tree, sometimes it is when I not so close but a waft suddenly dances around me. I realise that I am inhaling the scent and I stop and smile. To own a Katsura is to love a Katsura.
This tree is a prince amongst trees. It is maturing well now, and I take a step back and see it is much taller than I am. It might eventually get to be over 20 metres tall, but that will probably be after I am long gone. I just hope that future owners of this garden will look at this tree and smile. If they cut it down I will haunt them - and that is a promise.