The 25-year history of a Victoria family's twisty trunk tree
VICTORIA – One of these trees on Alabany Street is not like the others. “I like it,” says the man who lives across from it. “It has character.”
Another person walking their dog past the tree says its simply makes him happy: ”It’s just a cool-looking tree.”
For others, the tree sparks their imagination. “I think it just looks like one big anaconda snake,” says the man who lives next door to it. “It’s just absolutely ridiculous with Medusa hair on top!”
Medusa is not the tree’s name. According to its owner, the tree with countless twists in its trunk, doesn’t have a name. Theresa says she has named other plants in her yard. “We make quick nicknames out of them.”
There’s ‘Daphne,’ ‘Veronica’ and ‘Collum.’ They’re not much to look at yet. But ‘Planty’…“Planty’s a good [name],” Theresa says with a laugh. “’Planty’ can be used with many plants!”
In her backyard, there’s ‘Planty One’ and ‘Planty Too.’ You should note that it's not ‘"two" like the name of a sequel, but "too" like it’s also called ‘Planty.’ Theresa named them when her kids where little.
“What kind of plant is that mom?” she remembers her children asking, and her responding. “It’s Planty!’ Every plant could be ‘Planty’!”
Perhaps that’s why the twisty tree didn’t get a name. It was planted before Theresa and Jay had kids.
“This is the beginnings of how it all started,” Jay says, pointing to the ground where another wisteria has started to twirl around a clothes-line pole.
Like this tree, Jay noticed the wisteria’s natural tendencies, encouraged it to loop around the pole, and occasionally talked to it. “How ya’ doin? How ya’ feeling?” he says with a smile. “Small talk.”
Jay says it never answered back. The tree just quietly observed the twists and turns of its people's lives. “We were broke,” Jay recalls when he and Theresa first moved here. “We had a huge mortgage, kids on the way, and we couldn’t afford to go on vacation or travel.”
So the young parents transformed their backyard into a place where their kids could grow the fondest of memories, surrounded by floral friends like ‘Daphne,’ ‘Veronica,’ and the ‘Planty Twins.'
Now 25 years later, the kids are adults, and the wisteria without a name has been replanted in the front yard. Theresa says the tree inspires them to smile: “It’s fun to watch people walk by and look.”
Perhaps that’s what keeps the tree twirling. After decades of watching people smiling, the corners of its trunk can’t help but keep turning up too.