I emailed Tom the tree surgeon at the weekend. If you’ve been here, you’ll have noticed how, over the years, the pittosporum between the lawn and the drive has grown. It was a shrub, the sort of size you’d expect it to be, for years until we removed a huge old laurel hedge – certainly one of our better moves, it was such a nuisance – and, without its competition, it’s grown massively and must be 20 feet tall at least. On the other side of the drive and a few yards away, there’s a yew, nearly as tall and fairly straggly. I wanted to know the best thing to do with them both and I had half a mind to get rid of the pittosporum. Russell and I considered doing so when we had the drive made wider, but gave it a reprieve because we don’t really like removing healthy plants. Still, it’s in the wrong place and it’s far too big.
Tom and I discussed options and he’s going to remove the bottom growth from the yew and neaten the top, and make it a nicely shaped tree. The pittosporum will be cut hard back and it’ll either agree to be a shrub again or Tom will come back, remove it and grind out the stump. In the meantime, I’ll take cuttings because I’m sentimental. I also asked his advice about another tree – I can’t remember what it is – that’s growing over the beck. The root is one side but it slants heavily to the other before growing up tall. It’s elderly and covered in ivy, apart from the very top. Again, we discussed options. Best for the tree, probably, would be to cut through the ivy at the base. But I thought about it and I don’t want to. That’s a lot of food and shelter for birds and insects that would be destroyed and it seems such a shame. Tom was pretty relaxed about that, he’s very keen on wild habitats too and said we could leave it. Worst that would happen would be that it falls over and it won’t do much harm if it does. But in fact, we’ve decided to take off a couple of horizontal branches at the end, leaving the two main uprights and all the ivy. That’ll take some weight off, do no damage and look better.
I really like Tom and it’s always a pleasure to see him, but all the more nowadays, so starved am I for outside contact. Brief chats with a couple of shopkeepers, while being aware of a queue outside, so we keep on the subject of what I’m buying, isn’t much substitute for a social life. Still, it’s all we’ll get for a while. I don’t tend to phone people much. What is there to say?