Loveliest of trees the cherry now

DSCF1807

LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad.  1896

Our lovely old specimen of Prunus serrulata is looking beautiful and I was reminded of that famous Housman poem. Although Housmen is very much associated with the First World War,  A Shropshire Lad was actually written quite some time before.

In the late 19th Century the biblical “three score years and ten” was above average life expectancy. Today I’m sure I saw more who were of four score years enjoying the blossom than those of just a score.

RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
Accession Number:19698251
Scientific Name:Prunus serrulata Lindl. 'Jo-nioi'
Family:Rosaceae
Genus:Prunus
Epithet:serrulata
Plant:19698251A
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/H28/B020
19698251_A_1.JPG
1969.8251A (4).JPG
19698251A_6.JPG
19698251A_1.JPG
19698251A_2.JPG
19698251A_3.JPG
19698251A_4.JPG
19698251A_5.JPG
DSC_0025.JPG
DSC_0018.JPG
DSC_0019.JPG
DSC_0021.JPG
DSC_0023.JPG
DSC_0034.JPG
DSC_0028.JPG
DSC_0029.JPG
DSC_0030.JPG
DSC_0031.JPG
DSC_0032.JPG
DSC_0046.JPG
DSC_0036.JPG
DSC_0037.JPG
DSC_0039.JPG
DSC_0043.JPG
DSC_0044.JPG
DSC_0051.JPG
DSC_0197.JPG
DSC_0189.JPG
DSC_0191.JPG
DSC_0192.JPG
DSC_0194.JPG
DSC_0195.JPG
DSC_0196.JPG
1969.8251A (2).JPG
1969.8251A (3).JPG
1969.8251A (4).JPG
DSC_0228.JPG
DSC_0229.JPG
 Location: 55.96529652,-3.208027398

← Previous post

Next post →

2 Comments

  1. Drew McNaughton

    Drew McNaughton

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks for posting the poem and the info about the cherry. On the subject of poets of the First World War, I have a theory, which after having discussed it with knowledgable Botanics people I feel is very likely, that Wilfred Owen would have visited the botanic garden during his stay at Craiglockhart Hospital.

  2. Norman Gould

    Having passed three score years and ten this was the year for planting the rose ‘ Shropshire Lad’. Looking down the garden I wonder how it compares with Houseman’s cherry blossom. Like the cherry blossom it will be quite transient quite unlike the Tower of London poppies in my Spathiphyllum peace plant which little doubt will look just the same when Remembrance Day comes round again.

Leave a Reply