Ah the joys of living and gardening on the outskirts of rainy city Manchester. Cold, wet and windy………extraordinarily windy today! The rowan tree outside the front of the house has succummed to the forces of nature and toppled sideways, taking the lampost down with it. Chaos.

Old wives will have you believe that rowan trees keep witches away. There must be some truth in this as I have never been bothered by the wicked old crones. I will have to be more vigilant now.

The rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) was a good choice for roadside planting for which the local council must be commended. It has a slender form, reaches a height of between 10-15 metres, produces white flowers in early summer and red berries in autumn. Insects are irresistibly drawn to the strong, sweet fragrance of rowan blossoms and, come autumn, birds will dance among the branches tucking into the fat, juicy berries.

Rowan berries are edible and, if you can get to them before the thrushes, they can be cooked up with plenty of sugar and apples and made into wholesome jams and jellies.

I am hoping the tree will be replaced soon before temptation gets the better of me and I turn to guerilla gardening.

Who would believe that a shadowy figure, caught in the glare of a cars headlights, standing by a mound of freshly dug earth would be doing anything more sinister than simply planting a rather pretty cherry tree.


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