Smulungle Aalst News

Visiting mulberry specialist Willy Keymeulen

Today was another wonderful day due to the wind and the rain… in Aalst. We write February 18 and one of the strongest storms of recent years is raging. Nevertheless, I leave early in the morning for Aalst because a visit is planned with new volunteers Jonas and Greg. A short visit to the place and all you see are happy faces. We look forward to tomorrow. Then we get together for the first time with all the other smuljungle fans.
In the meantime, I get a call from Antonia from the Groendienst that the Aldermen will also come by tomorrow to say hello. That’s great. But the day is not over yet. The next appointment is with Bart Backaert and Ester Cattoir. She is eager to steer our Green Fingers in the right direction, but you will hear more about that tomorrow.

Visiting Willy Keymeulen, The golden mulberry and the silkworms

Then I drive together with Ester to Willy Keymeulen, the one and only Mulberry Specialist . Seeing those old knots in his garden can only make you quiet. What a knowledge and what a beautiful collection. We hear stories about the Emperor’s Mulberry trees in Japan…How the fig tree roots find their way to the neighbors…
We take shelter in the conservatory, but it soon becomes clear that it is not the safest place when there is a storm.
Book in mid-July because then we can all visit. When the berries are ripe… he says so beautifully. He had to pass those silkworms on to another lady. If there are caterpillars, she will come by. That was too labour-intensive because they have to eat 6 times a day. As a carer, that was just too much work. Now the caterpillars are spinning green silk. I see Esther pens in her booklet.

Willy is 83 years old but still full of plans. Maybe we can lend a hand now and then because if he tells you about how he is still pruning on ladders…. hmm. Meanwhile, his wife Nora is preparing a mulberry drink. In Turkey you can buy dried mulberry and drink it as tea…
He used to be a choirmaster. He already knows what songs he wants at his funeral. Later, but not yet of course. We have to look it up on his website. Of course we do. He says he still has a lot of stories. Food for the minds of our troubadours, of course. There is one book we should definitely read. I hope Esther wrote down the name.

He also shows us the press article that he has cut out. He says about that Smuljungle. He is with us in mind tomorrow. Unfortunately he can’t leave. We will think of him.
When we say goodbye, we almost blow away together with the gate. We hold on to the branches of the trees…

The Smuljungle Thank you
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