Monday 10 August 2015

Blog from a log

We've had to have a tree felled.

It was the huge cedar crammed into our front garden.

I see that in 2009 I couldn't contemplate having it cut down.

But the goldcrests have long since departed 
leaving only the pigeons.

Meanwhile the tree has continued to grow,
and its roots have lifted the driveway.

And one windy night a large branch fell,
mercifully on our side of the fence
and not into the road.

At one point there were seven men wielding three chainsaws.

It was a massive undertaking
and took six hours to bring down.

We've saved as much of the wood as we could.

It was eighty eight years old.

What a difference it has made to our south facing sitting room,
previously cast in deep shade all year round.

Now we must plant something more suited to its situation.

As Loudan said in his 1832 edition of Useful and Ornamental Planting,

'no tree confers such an air of grandeur and dignity upon the grounds 
surrounding a mansion as a full-grown cedar of Lebanon'


'Remember that a squashed cedar is a sign of unaffordable pretensions.'


  1. It's always a shame when a tree has to be cut down - if only people realised just how big they grow when fully mature. It is wonderful to see the tree men at work is't it . We have had several trees attended to over the years and the men at work never fail to impress. I bet the outlook has changed considerably - and oh the light it lets in.

  2. we had a lot of smaller Too Big trees felled.
    Still have a carob I'm wary of that must be trimmed.

  3. What a beautiful tree, but as you say it was in the wrong place. At least you enjoyed its stateliness for a long while and now you have the pleasure of choosing a new tree. I wonder what you will decide upon?

    1. Thinking of multi-stemmed silver birch, possibly a crab apple, a magnolia stellata, an Amelanchier and Acers are also being considered.

  4. They are magnificent trees but better where they have LOTS of space. I'm sure that's made a big difference to your light.

  5. We had to have two huge cedars taken down about 15 years ago, one only 10 feet from the house, so it made a huge difference to the amount of light. We've also paid big sums to have firs spiral-trimmed so they can better sift the wind through in winter storms rather than rain branches down on us. It's a huge privilege living this close to really big trees (we have 10 or so over 40 feet, in our not-particularly-huge yard), but it's a worry as well, especially this summer of drought and forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. Still, I'm happy to be part of a community that thinks twice and thrice and then again, as you have, about taking trees down. Must have been considerable drama in the neighbourhood as the loggers threw down the cuts -- and now someone will have wonderful kindling for their fireplace! I'll be curious to see what you choose as a replacement tree.

  6. Wow, wow and wow again, Lucille.

    Where to begin on a comment to this post. I am so glad that your 80-year-old cedar's big adventure did not hurr anyone. My over-80-year-old mom has had quite a few aged oaks taken down around my childhood home, before they independently found a target for their branches or trunks on their own.

    Mature trees provide such beautiful shade and also a feeling of stability. Yet. Time keeps counting the rings on those trunks and so forth.

    Your photographs really do tell the story.'s the funny bit. I had a day off today and went to the movies. I saw, and enjoyed, Mr Holmes. It was almost exactly a year ago that you posted your clever blog about the alfresco staging of certain very important scenes of the film. I loved seeing your post's previews appear on the big screen (as my popcorn container emptied, in lieu of a proper lunch.)

    And so, Lucille, I see a film featuring faux landscape and architcture, and see your post about a very real tree's demise, and think that via blogging the world can be quite a neighborhood.


  7. I was interested to read this post as we also have had a long running issue with several 80' conifers planted too close to our Georgian cottage in a small Suffolk village in the 70s, and the resulting problems. They finally came down, after 5 years debate with our neighbours, in the spring and it has transformed our property. We all love and value trees but it really is a question of the right tree in the right place and you did absolutely the right thing as much damage could have resulted. And now to choose a replacement - I wonder what you will decide upon?

  8. What an interesting day that must have been. I do so admire people who fearlessly leap up tall trees. Did you save a cone as a memento or will a piece of wood serve?

    1. Cones and huge slabs of trunk for table and stools.

    2. Tables and stools, eh? I hope to see pictures of those, eventually; it sounds rather marvellous.

  9. I knew a man who counted tree rings for a living! He worked for a university researcher. Many of his subjects had a lot more rings than 88 :-)