Bay and box battle

The old bay tree took the worst of the storms. I’d had it for years, since I bought it 6 inches high in my courtyard garden in Brighton. Since then I’d dragged it around a couple of homes that had no proper garden, and somehow unwatered, unpruned and neglected, it battled on giving me a good supply of bay leaves, despite its shaggy unruly appearance.

By now it was in the biggest pot I could find, and was well and truly pot bound and stuck.

It perched with a couple of box plants at the bottom of the garden. Then one night the storm caused the sea to crash over the beach huts, across the road, down the alley and the run off to reach under the gate and into the garden and to the pots sat there. The seaweed and shingle covered grass tide mark turned muddy.

The bay tree looked shocked, its leaves turned a crumpled brown and it sat sadly in a sheltered corner deteriorating for quite a while until I decided it had had its day. I took my loppers and chopped off the substantial main stem and all the leaves. But it was too heavy to lift and carry out to the compost heap, and I kept forgetting to ask G to do it, so it sat in a corner, under a hanging basket (which dripped on it half the Summer until I noticed it had sprung back to life.

The shoots at the bottom were an inch or two high.. but the root ball was a good foot across! I somehow managed to drag it out of the huge pot, and started to hack away at the roots, until only a small section remained. It was touch and go for a while and the tender new shoots faltered and wondered whether to keep on. But they recovered, and planted up in a new pot, it seems to be doing well.

Taking no risks I’ve kept it covered all Winter in my mini greenhouse from the wind and rain, though the door has been ripped off now by the wind.

It’s a survivor my bay tree.

G’s big box plants in tubs didn’t like that storm too much either, but after a bit of TLC, and shelter down by the house, they are doing well now too. Those pesky weeds in the pots though, so persistent! We were also given a few more box plants, some nice variegated ones, and they are all ticking along fine.


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