At Durham Botanic Garden yesterday I enjoyed my second autumn of the year (although this one more sure of itself and familiar than in Sydney in March) and the sweet, slightly burnt fragrance of the Katsura tree. For some people it evokes the smell of candyfloss – definitely something Bonfire Nightish about it. Cercidiphyllum japonicum – the leaves are like heart-shaped spoons, pale gold, veined with green. Rising here from a five-stemmed trunk, the branches are whiskery and tentative, but generous. It is pleasing to discover that the wood is often used to make boards for the game of Go.
The environment is our outer skin and we have to look after it. To be able to look after it, we have to understand it, and I understand it by putting my hands on it.
People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.