The willow tree in the Midstocket Garden was planted in 2015 by Rev John Chalmers, during his year as Moderator of the Church of Scotland. It is a ‘Kilmarnock Willow’ - part of the ‘Salix’ family, the same family of the willow trees as those described in stories about Babylon.
Willow trees grew abundantly on the banks of rivers, and were used to make the frameworks of boats.
During the time of the captivity in Babylon, a number of people from the ancient
Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, and they “… hung their harps upon the willows ….." Before the Babylonian, captivity the willow was always associated with feelings of joyful prosperity. After the captivity, however, this tree became the emblem of sorrow.
“On the first day you shall take the fruit of majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.”
“On the willows there we hung up our harps”.
“Therefore the abundance they have gained and what they have laid up they carry away over the Wadi of the Willows.”
The Israelites were encouraged to ‘take branches from luxuriant trees - from palms, willows and other leafy trees and to build shelters (booths) and to celebrate as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year in the seventh month.
“He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow-tree."