Willow – Down By the Salley Gardens

I have always been fascinated by willows, especially those planted near to the river or lake.
Understand that willows may have originated in the West and some of them were transplanted to the East.CIMG2781
As a secondary school student, I have enjoyed reading the book “The Wind in the Willows” although it doesn’t have a lot to deal with willows.CIMG2787
The view of the willows while punting in the River Cam of Cambridge is an unforgettable sight. Here are some pictures taken of willows.
The first two were taken in XiangShan Gardens in Beijing.DSCF2883
The third one was untaken in a garden while we were travelling in Yunnan – name now forgotten.
The fourth one was taken in a Chinese garden in Okinawa, Japan.
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The next three were taken in the gardens of the West Lake, China.
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Only recently that I know that Salley, as in the song Down By the Salley Garden,  in fact means willow.DSCF6349
It has been suggested that the location of the “Salley Gardens” was on the banks of the river at Ballysadare near Sligo where the residents cultivated trees to provide roof thatching materials. “Salley” or “sally” is a form of the Standard English word “sallow”, i.e., a tree of the genus Salix. It is close in sound to the Irish word saileach, meaning willow.DSCF6353
Hope you like the lyrics of the song too:
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
The penultimate photo was taken in a garden when we were on our way to Yunnan, China.DSC_0016
The view of the willows while punting in the River Cam of Cambridge is an unforgettable sight.
Unfortunately, I no longer have the photo.
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Instead, I have a photo of willow taken at the Central Park, New York to conclude this post.

36 thoughts on “Willow – Down By the Salley Gardens

  1. A wonderfully informative post and collection of shots, Michael. They complement your bridge series 😊 I think the trees have an elegantly languid look about them especially draped over the edge of water.

  2. There was a massive willow in my yard growing up. It took about 10 neighborhood kids, holding hands and stretching out our arms to go around it. thanks for the smile and the memory!

  3. So pleasant to be reminded of that song. I first heard it in high school and fell in love with the sadness of it and how the Irish writers always have such delicately pretty references to nature

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