Ode to a horse chestnut

When I was growing up there was a large, majestic horse chestnut tree growing directly opposite my bedroom window. These trees speak to me of home, and are abundant around the places I have lived, but particulary the Royal parks of South West London which formed the backdrop to so many summer days of my childhood.

Every April something miraculous happens overnight and it seems stark branches suddenly bush out into lush newly formed leafy oases, white ‘candle’ blossoms abounding.

I took a walk along the riverside in the rain and the opposite bank, lined with these wonderful trees, presented a magical aura through the misty haze. They trigger in me a yearning down the years, a romance, a snapshot of a perfect Spring day in the leafy provinces of an English country garden.

I’m sure they exist in other countries but for me, they are forever England, and, done up in their spring finery, they whisper secrets from their hundreds of years of existence. Did they witness Henry VIII galloping past to shoot down a stag? They are part of our past, present and future and are as much about the experience of high summer to me as a the smell of mown grass, barbeques sizzling or the lazy progress of the bumble bee as it drifts from bloom to bloom.


I know, I know, I’ve come over all poetic!

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22 thoughts on “Ode to a horse chestnut

  1. How fab to have such fond and vivid childhood memories. I don’t have a huge amount, but I felt the same this weekend after making chicken soup that (accidentally) tasted just like my Grandma used to make :o)

  2. I loved reading this post. I love how a waft of nature can take us back so many years. A certain evening light and the sight and smell of hay bales in the fields always takes me straight back to summer time being 7 or 8. Thank you for giving me a moment reminiscing! Anyway, I digress, I love the idea of trees having so many stories to tell 🙂

    • Its nice to have a bit of a reminisce isn’t it?! I remember there is a scene in Four Weddings & a Funeral where they drive past a Horse Chestnut (the first wedding in the marquee) and it always makes me feel nostalgic!

  3. Oh what a wonderfully nostalgic post – beautifully written too. There’s something rather special about taking in our surroundings, whatever the weather. I can almost smell that BBQ though! Lovely post, thank you so much for sharing #whatsthestory

    • Thanks so much Tarana! It just came about because a vision across the river in the rain took me back through time – the way a specific smell can – and I’ve always loved this time of year and the look of horse chestnuts really changes from season to season. ‘Chestnut Sunday’ will be coming up in Bushy Park in the next couple of weeks – a celebration of the trees in full bloom with a procession, displays of vintage vehicles and little rides for children – I keep meaning to go but life always gets in the way!

  4. Oh how lovely. I am really lucky that even though I live in the city we are right by a woods and when we are in it we just forget where we are really. It is beautiful #allaboutyou #whatsthestory

    • You’ve just reminded me of something I never expected to see when I was living in Texas – grey squirrels – masses of them! It must be strange to be from somewhere like Iceland though where there are no real trees to speak of…

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