“Oh may we hope some tender twig…May yet be wafted Here!” – Cutting from a descendent of Lichfield Willow to come to Graeme Park
We’ve recently been contacted by representatives of the Samuel Johnson Society in Lichfield, England regarding planting a cutting of the Lichfield Willow (also known as Johnson’s Willow) at Graeme Park. The Willow is a 4th generation descendant of one that stood during Johnson’s time and of which he was very fond, but what makes it exciting for Graeme Park is that Elizabeth, having seen an engraving of the tree, was inspired to write two “Odes on the Litchfield Willow.” These poems were never published, but she did copy them into the Willing Commonplace Book, currently held by the PHMC and on display in the Keith House. The present tree is in bad condition and, as has been done several times in the past, they are propagating cuttings so it can be replaced at the original site, but they also wanted to fulfill Elizabeth’s wish, expressed in her poetry, that the Willow would make it to America.
Oh may we hope some tender twig,
The Willow well can Spare,
Some thriving, blooming, verdant, Sprig;
May yet be wafted Here!
We are still in the initial stages of this discussion and there are quarantine and other logistics to work out, but I think a descendant of Johnson’s Willow will be very happy on the wet grounds of “Fountain Low” (Graeme Park’s original name), and Elizabeth will be very happy to have it here.