Wednesday, 23 September 2015

East End Willow Trees Making a Come Back After Pollarding

Trees by the Chequers roundabout at East End, Houghton Regis are making a come back. They were pollarded earlier this year to help prevent a repetition of dangerous limbs falling on passers-by, but now, the willow trees are already showing signs of re-growth.

What they looked like in July (top) and last November (bottom):



In China, some people carry willow branches with them on the day of their Tomb Sweeping or Qingming Festival. Willow branches are also put up on gates and/or front doors, which they believe help ward off the evil spirits that wander on Qingming. Legend states that on Qingming Festival, the ruler of the underworld allows the spirits of the dead to return to earth. Since their presence may not always be welcome, willow branches keep them away. In traditional pictures of the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin, she is often shown seated on a rock with a willow branch in a vase of water at her side. The Goddess employs this mysterious water and the branch for putting demons to flight. Taoist witches also use a small carving made from willow wood for communicating with the spirits of the dead. The image is sent to the nether world, where the disembodied spirit is deemed to enter it, and give the desired information to surviving relatives on its return. The willow is a famous subject in many East Asian nations' cultures, particularly in pen and ink paintings from China and Japan.


In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows. Willow trees are also quite prevalent in folklore and myths.

In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travellers.

More on Willows: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow