Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Apple and rhubarb crumble is off the menu.

I don't think I ever mentioned our apple tree. The reason being, B and I decided it was a "Crap Apple" tree (no typo). Most of the fruit has been sour, and only good for chutney or cricket. It was also structurally a disaster- I don't quite know how, but after about half a metre, the trunk bent to around two o'clock, hanging over the fence. On the positive side, it made the tree an interesting feature, both visually and for visiting kids with a need to climb. When we moved in we were concerned by a large (30cm diameter) branch that was clearly dead and had it removed. We also discussed removing the whole tree with the ne
ighbours as it overhung their driveway. However, the neighbours were strongly in favour of retaining the tree, probably because it was large enough to screen out our upstairs windows from their back lawn and deck. So we kept the tree and I found an apple chutney recipe (Nigella's) to use up the windfall fruit.

A few nights ago, our plans for a 2010 chutney vintage were dashed by a ring on the doorbell. It was our neighbours announcing that the tree had fallen on the fence.
A couple of palings had been snapped, but the crossbars appeared to be bearing the weight of the trunk, so we debulked as much of the tree as we could reach to reduce the weight, and in the morning I rang around town trying to find a tree chopping service which could come immediately. And a couple of hours later, up rocked the "team", which consisted of a huge truck with a chipper-trailer attachment and six men who ran the tree demolition like clockwork.
Two chainsaws, a heap of chipping and a leaf blower to clear the sawdust from the paths and in no time our tree was driven off to start its new life as mulch! Needless to say, both boys were fascinated by the whole process! (And yes, I can recommend Taylors- we've used them before and this time they accommodated my rapid service request.)

Unfortunately, our long-suffering rhubarb had been relocated to the shade of the apple tree, and suffered collateral damage at the hands size 13 feet of one of the chainsaw operators! Fingers crossed it has yet another life up its sleeve.

The question is now, what should replace the apple tree? It's to the north of our deck, so deciduous seems like a good plan: the usual shade-in-summer-sun-in-winter logic. Fast growing would please the neighbours so they can resume whatever they did in the privacy of their screened yard (no, they're not that type of neighbour). And given that the view from our side of the fence will only be the lower three metres, I am thinking "interesting trunk" would be best. Although part of me thinks we should replace a semi-edible plant with another edible, the reality is that we would like the bulk of the tree to be way up high and out of reach, so any fruit would just end up feeding possums and bats.

We are leaning towards a small stand (a copse?) of silver birches, as judging by how common silver birches are in our area we figure they must be well-suited to the local conditions. We won't be planting until the autumn, so in the meantime other suggestions are welcome! In the meantime, what I had been using as a shady bed is copping a heap of sun. Mulch, mulch, mulch is my interim plan!

Apologies for the backdated post: this all happened just before we headed off to Sweden, so I never quite pulled the photos and text together!

1 comment:

ilipilli said...

How exciting for the boys!

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