Our usually sheltered garden took a bit of a bashing the other night with a loud crash heralding the fact that our tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) had shed a branch. Sheer good luck meant it fell in such a way that it did very little damage, and at least it gave us the opportunity to admire the flowers close up. Rather than consigning them to the compost heap, I cut all the flowering stems and gave them to our lovely local florist Mao of Shimizu Flowers where they have been causing a sensation. So many people have tried to buy them that I’ve promised Mao that when the tree surgeon comes here later in the week, I’ll get him to cut some twigs that she can sell. I’ve also given her information about the tree so that she can show this to anyone who is interested – especially the fact that it grows to 30 metres in case they are tempted to plant one in a small garden.