Rowan is my favourite tree, with its boudoir perfume and generous portions of berries for the birds. It will protect you from evil spirits and its berries make a jelly that rivals marmalade as a breakfast treat. I make Rowan jelly every year as a rite of the season’s passing, so today I took a jar along as a contribution to the edible garden event at the John Hope Gateway, plus of course a bottle of rowan wine because we poets need to get our inspiration from somewhere!
As people munched on peas and beans, cool lovage soup, herbs, flowers and jelly, I encouraged them to write a taste word or a phrase on a green paper leaf. We continued this as we walked out into the garden, read rowan poems under a rowan tree, and nibbled our way around the wild flower meadow and the edible gardening polytunnel. The result was a word salad, which we read out, fresh from its bowl – a taste sensation! Special thanks to Mr West for his tomato poem.
Each morning I’m seeking my own quiet inspiration from an exotic plant, and this morning I basked under a gum tree, Eucalyptus viminalis. In my twenties I lived for a while in a flat close to where I am staying this month, just after I returned to Scotland after 18 months in Australia. So I allowed myself a brief excursion down memory lane, not least triggered by this heat.
I also managed a brief visit to an exhibition, on Tectona grandis (teak), at the Gateway. Jalan Jati is the story of an old bed frame found in Singapore in 2009, made of teak wood from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Art, poetry, animation, combine with ecology, social history oaf teak plantations and the politics of illegal logging. Fascinating and thought provoking, it set me wondering what other secret stories are hiding in all the forest products in our homes?