Six on Saturday – 24/2/2018


The sound of chainsaws nearby on Monday morning put me in a bit of a panic. Turned out that one of our neighbours had decided to have the large oak between him and my next door neighbour down. I reported on his mutilation of it back in September. I can’t really say that it affects us much, overhanging a little at the north east corner of our garden. It’s funny, it’s hard to separate the cognitive fact of it being gone from the actual experience of it not being there. From some angles it seems to make little difference, from others there is a real sense of more light and space. It saddens me because this is a fairly young housing estate with very few trees of any size. Every one that is there makes a significant contribution to the feel of the place.

Apple tree decision time. I wrote a blog in the week about where I was with growing apples. Bit of a saga. I think writing it down has clarified things in my head. My Suntan apple is going to go. I’m just not going to get a worthwhile crop from it for years, if ever. I will move the ‘Holstein Cox’ to where my Pittosporum ‘Elizabeth’ is languishing; that’s not likely to ever stand up without support. The other Pittosporum we have in a pot can go where ‘Suntan’ is now. Pittosporum ‘Silver Magic’. Sorted.

(Two supplementary. Another half day has passed. ‘Suntan’ is gone, any regrets tempered by realising as I cut it up just how much canker there was on it. Pittosporum ‘Elizabeth’ is gone; once out it was clear that down below was a real mess of encircling roots. Pittosporum ‘Silver Magic’ and Apple ‘Holstein’ now have new homes.)

Pittosporum ‘Silver Magic’ with doomed ‘Suntan’ Apple on its left and soon to be moved ‘Holstein’ apple on its right.

Our very elderly next door neighbour has been unable to garden for years, so I have looked after it for him. The front garden was classic conifers and heathers, with the conifers massive and growing into each other. I got rid of most of them, this bit still remains and just now looks quite colourful. I’ve put one or two quite choice plants in, I hope the next occupants won’t want to rip it all out and concrete it.SOS297

Birds. By the time we got back from Australia, the birds had given up on us. It was a week before they had really come back to the feeders in numbers. Mostly Goldfinches, some chaffinches and siskins, an occasional blue tit, greenfinch and collared dove. I wonder if this cold spell will drive the redwings into gardens, I saw a flock in a nearby field recently.


Every gardener knows that gardening doesn’t end when you come back in the house. There are houseplants, seed catalogues, books and magazines and these days, lots of online stuff. When I did my volunteer day at Mt Edgcumbe this week I spotted a group of trees I’d not noticed before (in two years of weekly visits mind!). Suspecting it was a New Zealand conifer I dug out a book I’d bought in NZ a decade ago. Sure enough it was Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, or Kahikatea. I didn’t know they grew in the UK at all. So I tried to log in to the Tree Register, only to find that my subscription had expired. Sorted that and yes, they are indeed rare. Must look and see if it looks like a champion tree next week.

Talking of books, back in the autumn I was thinking about how to produce six things each week in winter when nothing much was going on. Slipping in the odd favourite book, maybe claiming to have read it in the garden, in order to comply with SOS rules, back when I thought there were any rules; seemed like a possibility. Well, it’s mid February and the opportunities might be running out. So here is one of my favourites. I’m not going to write a book review, I’m just going to say that it is an unalloyed joy of a book that has spent a great deal of time on the table beside my bed.

Well that’s my offering for another week. I have fingers crossed for minimal damage in the coming week. Who’d have thought it, cold weather in February! Whatever next?

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, from whose post are numerous links to other contributors from all over the place. It’s where I’m headed now.

20 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 24/2/2018

  1. I love the Dan Hinckley book and I am sure I saw you reading it in the garden so it does count 😉 Do you have the perennial one too? So easy to read and full of goodies. I haven’t heard of that NZ conifer either, just googled it, the cones look amazing! As for the goldfinches, just beautiful!


  2. Trees are so important. Whenever we’ve been house hunting, the neighbourhoods with lots of trees are the ones we are attracted to. The goldfinches are beautiful! Do they sing? We don’t have them here, or any singing birds, really. Apparently, people have been trying to import singing birds from Europe for years, but no luck.


    1. I think your take on well treed neighbourhoods would be shared by most people, often without being aware of why! Several UK birds were successfully introduced to New Zealand by early settlers. With hindsight, it might have been better if they’d failed. NZ’s native Tui has the most wonderful song.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting to hear about your birds. Had they really given up on you? We went away for a week and of course all 6 feeders were empty when we got back. I refilled them and before I was in the back door a robin was feeding! It was so lovely to see. Had he been hanging around waiting for us to get home??


  4. Very sad news about the oak tree. I don’t mind a good shrub massacre having taken down an overgrown Pittosporum and this week a huge box bush left in our garden by previous occupants. But trees are off limits.


    1. I can see both sides. It was on the south side of their garden, low and spreading over about a third of their area, shading the rest most of the day. I just hope that now they have removed it they do something worthwhile with the ground. I rather doubt they will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks Jim – i asked as my usual source of second hand books only had stock available from US bookshops with the associated high shipping cost. I’ll keep half an eye out for it.


  5. A few years ago when we had a fence put in, the builder told us he had to work the fence so it wasn’t attached to the oak trees as they were protected in the UK. I didn’t question him but I take it that’s not true? How excited you must be about the NZer conifer. Don’t forget us if there’s further updates on it.


    1. I don’t think there is anything automatic about tree preservation orders. You found a rare builder if he was trying to look after the trees. I am a bit exited about that conifer, the first thing I want to know is if the park staff even know they’re there.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Shamefully, I had a huge Monteray cyprus cut down last year because it just dominated our whole garden, made a large area of dry shade and was just too big. The neighbours wept with gratitude too as it shaded their garden completely.


  7. I dislike tree felling (says he who felled one last year and quite a few in previous years) but the problem is that when new housing or business estates are built, planting too many trees (often badly chosen, badly positioned and badly planted) is a sop to the planners. I originally had a trio of beech, hornbeam and Scots pine planted in an equilateral triangle with sides of about five feet. The deeds prohibited felling for a period of years. I didn’t fell the pine, honest, the exhaust of the chainsaw blew it over. I hope any new neighbours will take the hint from your welcome message about having looked after and planted the garden and offering to chat about what’s there!

    Liked by 1 person

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