So here they are, my babies! 😁 Their story?
This time last year, in Autumn 2022, I was still looking after my elderly mother. Every day, just before tea time, we would go out for a walk. We always traced the same route around the estate where we lived. I would remind her of the road names as we walked and she would reminisce on the people that she knew, who were living or had lived at certain places on our route, some of them long gone. We would comment on people's gardens, on the flowers that were growing there, some of them covered in bees and butterflies, which was always nice to see. We also had our favourite trees. One in particular was a birch tree with beautiful, flawless silver bark. As we approached our house we would stop and marvel at the huge buddleia which grew in a neighouring garden - alive with buzzing, flying, pollinating and hovering things.
On Doe Bank Lane, which boasted views across green fields and up towards the ancient Beacon which is the highest point in the West Midlands, there was a mighty Oak tree. I would pause and pick up an acorn from the ground, and when we got home, I would drop the acorn into a bowl of water. Sometimes the acorn would float, and I would leave it in the garden for the squirrels. But sometimes the acorn sank to the bottom of the bowl. Then I would keep it, and put it in the fridge with a little damp soil.
There were also other trees I collected from: I went to a protest camp run by Palestine Action in the woods around the local Elbit weapons factory in Lichfield. And I would pick up acorns. I went to the Green Party Autumn conference, outside of which grew a huge Horse Chestnut tree. From there I picked up some conkers (and ran the same test).
Then tragedy struck: my mother had an accident and broke her ankle. She went to hospital and never returned. Now she's in a care home in Bromsgrove. To pay for her care, we sold our family home, which was heartbreaking. I moved to a flat not far away, but I kept my acorns and my conkers, as they underwent the Winter stratification process.
Spring came, and I was on trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court for my part in a Palestine Action protest. My barrister was not hopeful, and feared that my sentence may be very severe, should I be convicted (which I unfortunately was). The judge presiding over our case was aggressively strict. We nicknamed the prosecutor, who appeared to be carrying out a personal vendetta against us "The Ghoul". It was a gloomy time, even if there was good camaraderie between the defendants, and we still managed to joke about a lot of it.
I planted seven of my acorns, and two of my conkers.
And they grew. To see something like this grow from the beginning is a special feeling. Amidst the endings, and the darkness, new life was sprouting.
As Summer passed, and I awaited my sentence, I gave away two of my Oak seedlings to friends. Now you see the remaining five. As you can imagine it is very much my hope that I can find places for them where they will be safe, and grow in peace. Maybe somewhere where I could visit and check on their progress.