The International Steam Pages

The Best Garden in Mitcheldean? (Winter 2014/5)
A Tale of Three Trees

This page is part of a series of garden blogs from 2015. Click here for the index.

Once upon a time there were three beautiful Leylandii trees which lived just across our southern boundary. In mid-summer their shadows stretched half way across our garden for much of the day, in Spring and Autumn, the whole way across. Over the last 3 years, I had persuaded our elderly lady neighbour to let me give them a 'hair cut' which had the benefit of giving the hedge below a chance to survive and allowed a little more light through at times when the sun was less high. The child's swing which is now in our garden was completely hidden under the largest one, unknown to all concerned.

When we weren't off visiting steam fairs, I spent much of my time at home during the 2014 summer tidying up her garden, making it presentable and keeping it that way. In return, we begged and begged her to take the trees down and eventually she agreed. I got our friendly local tree surgeon round to give us a quotation and all was agreed. 36 hours before the appointed morning, she changed her mind... I tried to keep a straight face knowing that being self-employed our man would lose a day's money. What happened next is best glossed over but suffice to say, some time later, the first tree came down, it was a whole day job and every trace bar some chippings vanished into a large pile further south. That's a nearly nice new view of the village.

A while later, it was time for the other two, Yuehong naturally was 'over the moon' at the prospect. Once again, it was the lady's privilege to change her mind, this time at the very last minute; she would graciously allow us to remove one of them but no more and would we please also take several metres off one of her other trees down by the road (at our expense too). So at the time of writing (April 2015), the middle tree is still standing and perhaps not surprisingly the grass in her garden is a lot taller than it is in the picture on the right above...

Still, I had the bonfire to end all bonfires to burn almost every last piece of wood save 6 cuts from one trunk which are piled up and may or may not end up as garden seats next door. So basically we paid for three trees to go and only got two and the tree surgeon through no fault of his own did an incomplete job. Almost the last time I spoke with the lady, we were in her garden looking out at the same angle as the picture above. With a foreground uncluttered by a hideous Leylandii, in all seriousness she said "What a beautiful view!" I just about managed a straight face and walked away. Thus spoke Mrs. Bean; never work with children, animals and old ladies. 

Meanwhile, turning the clock back, having had snow, off we went to Penang in January and,  yes, that is the shadow of the remaining tree stretching across the garden.

Click here for the next installment.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson