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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog


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Iíve just lost a family member. Youíll laugh when I tell you itís a tree. Allow me to elaborate.

Iím 29 years old.
My parents got married 10 years before I was born.
They held off getting married until theyíd bought a house, then the wedding was a bit rushed (this is most likely due to the fact that my dad grew up in some abysmal council houses with his brothers and his mother who had a nervous breakdown (or something to that effect) and ended up going practically blind in her old age which is not good when you have little to no natural light, the lights you do have are only half as bright as they should be and there are numerous holes in the floor. Or so Iím told at least.) and my mum also lived in council houses with her parents, two sisters and brother.
But it was the 60ís/70ís so standards were not always ideal. Usually you got married and had a council house (and I use the word house very loosely here) had a couple of kids and maybe saved enough for a house or were given the option of buying your council house. It all depended. So it makes sense that my parents didnít want to get stuck in that rut. Although, if theyíd gone the council house way I might not have been an only child but never mind all that now.

The house needed a lot of doing up and I mean a lot.
Quite early on my mum got a shrub and planted it at the end of the garden with my Granddad and Uncle. Mum thinks it was when her family first came over to see the house but her memoryís not that great. Weíre not clear on whether my dad was there or not. He claims he was but mumís not so sure. Anyway. Itís just a little shrub. A Christmas tree. A spruce Iím guessing, judging by how spikey he is. Heís always been referred to as my mumís Christmas Tree.
Itís safe to assume that he must have been a year or two old at least to have been sold. Itís not like we grew him from a seed or anything. So I place his age as being around 40.
For as long as Iíve existed that tree has towered over our garden. For 40 youíd think heíd be bigger than the house but no, heís just a bit shorter. Well. He was.
Every time we have a storm Iíve worried about the tree falling over and hitting the house, heís big enough that heíd surely hit the kitchen and possibly my room but oddly still preferable to him falling over several gardens because then weíd have to deal with the neighbours.

We got a letter from someone representing our neighbour a couple of months ago advising that we cut back our garden (particularly not let the Christmas Tree get any bigger) because it could damage her foundations. Apparently she wants an extension. Ha.hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahah ah. DREAM ON. And they think they have a foundation problem. You should see the cracks in our walls. My dad had to fix our foundations 10-15 years ago. Our other neighbour had some massive evergreens that messed us up real good. Apparently my dad poisoned them but they still grew super big. Eventually we had a storm and they fell down across three gardens (not ours, weíre not that kind of neighbour. We neighbour all three gardens). Those trees presence killed various plants of ours. Apparently my mumís lavender and possibly a damson tree. Iíve heard mixed accounts of it. It either died anyway, died because the evergreens took all the light or died when my dad tried to poison the evergreens. I always just knew it as the dead tree. The highlight of its afterlife was the one time I saw a woodpecker on it. Itís super amazing and rare because we donít have woodpeckers here. Theyíre common in the countryside but not here.

So. Back to this letter. Now and then my mumís been steadily hacking away at the garden bit by bit to clear things on the side with the neighbour who sent us the letter. Iím not too happy about it. At least make it even and do a little of the other side too if youíre going to do it. Our gardenís been overgrown for a very long time so we made some discoveries.
Our neighbour had a new fence put in a few years ago. Right by the kitchen is a raised bed with a wall that I used to sit in when I was little. Had a green bush-like thing with little white flowers no idea what it was. That area is the only place that bluebells grow in our garden. They steadily migrated from the very back of the garden all the way down the side to that one spot. Iíve tried to plant some elsewhere but they just havenít taken.
We used to have a little picket fence but our garden being so overgrown and the fence being so old it couldnít stop our garden encroaching on hers so I understood and respected her choice to put in a new fence. Itís a high fence that I actually like, since it shuts out therest of the world. As a child such a fence would have been surprising to me. But now Iím as reclusive as a snow leopard I like it. What I donít like is that when the concrete fence posts were put in to support it someone has clearly broken the end of the wall to insert the post and just dumped the bricks in our garden, hoping we wouldnít notice. We didnít, until now. Hateful *****.
I shouldnít be mad about it but Iím still vexed from a similar incident from earlier. Or maybe later, not sure which was first now. But anyway. One of our neighbours on the other side had their garden done up. To be fair I donít think they own it, I think they must be renting so the owner did it up but I hate them anyway so Iíll blame them. Theyíre so incredibly loud, they have their back doors wide open and blare terrible music and youíre lucky to go three weeks without them arguing, the womanís the worst, sheís so loud.
Anyway. They had their garden done up. Donít know if they got someone in to do it or not. But they put up a new fence, the old one was broken so fair enough. Or so I thought. Until I went to feed the birds one day and noticed everything was leaning a little more than usual. No surprise since someone had dumped a couple of nice fresh paving slabs only just on our side of the fence, clearly before the fence was erected. Not just that but also a dead tree trunk and a laundry bag (well a heavy duty bag the kind of which I associate with laundry) some rubbish has also ended up in that area. In fairness it could be foxes. We have a few. But I very much doubt it.

At the moment Iím not really sure how I feel. I loved that old tree so much just for existing but never actually did anything to maintain it. He just seemed content without us. Iím sad that this towering figure from my childhood is no more but itís not my usual sad feeling. Itís kind of hollow inside.
We didnít notice anything yesterday. I remember looking at him. He looked closer to the house since mum had cleared some of the stuff around him. Maybe it wasnít an optical illusion. Maybe he was leaning. Looking straight up I didnít notice anything odd but maybe if I could have seen him from a different angle Iíd have noticed him leaning. Heís an evergreen so he should have had strong roots. My dad tells me thatís why evergreens are such a pain, because their roots spread too far and mess with foundations. It was raining all day but not very windy. I didnít hear anything. Mum thought she heard something falling in the bathroom and thinks that might have been the tree. But we were out for a while yesterday and it was dark when we got back so he might have fallen then. We just donít know. My mum came in this morning and told me the tree had fallen over. I canít see him from my room anymore, well, just the very top, since thereís another tree thatís sprung up right next to the house. We have to kill that one because itís too close. I meant to do it last year bust I just canít bring myself to kill a tree, even though we didnít want that one, it just sprang up. I just canít willingly kill it. Itís a beautiful nuisance.
I jumped out of bed and had to go down to the kitchen to see. Our beautiful old Christmas tree has fallen over but we canít see where or what the damage was until we clear the stuff around it. I donít know if the trunk snapped or if heís uprooted. I should have cleared everything away today but it was raining and I had no energy. I think the overgrowth of other stuff cushioned his fall and maybe helped silence it. He looks so sad just lying there on the floor.

When talk of possible removal of that tree came up Iíd researched some things. The internet told me that it is possible to grow an evergreen form a cutting so itís possible. But we need a branch young enough and to graft it to a sapling of the same root structure (apparently a genetic relative preferably) and since heís 40 years old from a garden centre I doubt we can find a young sibling to stick him onto. After that itíll take several years of care just to get him to shrub size. We donít have the expertise.
I stayed awake thinking about it. We could do this or that. Maybe he can be fixed. We could find and expert. Did someone do this deliberately. Was he poisoned. I know people do that because my dad did it to another tree, not a hint of guilt for trying to poison a living thing.
I took me ages to get to sleep and ages to get up. I still feel tired, even though I stayed in bed far longer than I should. I know itís stupid but I just didnít want to get up. It felt like if I didnít get up then it hadnít happened and I didnít have to deal with it. I donít know if Iím feeling sad but empty because itís just a tree in the end, because Iíve been expecting it for several years or if this is just another level of depression.
Currently Iím lethargic, disinterested in pretty much everything and took about 4 hours, after finally getting up 3 hours late, to actually eat anything despite the fact that Iíd been hunger for maybe 6 hours or so but got to that level of hunger where you donít really think about it and you donít have stomack ache, your stomach just feels a little tight but thatís all. Not sure if that was depression of just my blood sugar levelling out though.
You know when youíre hungry so your stomach growls but you leave it a while and it stops and you feel fine for a while. Apparently thatís something to do with your blood sugar levels and is not your stomach trying to eat itself.

Iíve been rambling.
I donít suppose anyone here knows for sure if I can save our tree. It depends on various things.


  1. Bluebiird's Avatar
    Additionally. The loss of our lovely old tree gives me a better view of the window across from me. The house across from me had a loft conversion (which greatly disrupted my sleep for months) and installed a pretty big window. If I can see it then it (well its inhabitants) can see me. I donít like that at all. Mercifully the nuisance tree almost completely blocks it. Another reason not to cut it down, no matter how badly its roots may ruin our house in the future. What do I want more in the end? Privacy or a house that isnít falling down?
    I also wonder if our old Christmas tree might have had rot. Iíll have to inspect it. At the moment Iím still maintaining the possibility that the tree is still alive and perfectly healthy and just needs standing up. But even if that were the case I doubt we could stand him back up again.
  2. Danik 2016's Avatar
    I liked this chronicle about the old family tree. So many old trees fall down these days. In my city they crack down specially during the tempest destroying cars and sometimes even killing people.
  3. kiz_paws's Avatar
    If I were to try to save a tree, I would recommend looking into an arborist. Trees are their specialty and they would know if the tree can be saved/salvaged.

    Good luck, Blue!
  4. Melanie's Avatar
    Interesting blog, bluebird. I'm a treehugger too so I feel your pain.
  5. Virgil's Avatar
    Hey Blue. Just dropping in and nice to see you're around. I hope you're well. And you're mom too.

    So you want to cut back the tree, especially the roots. It probably can be done but that's a major effort. You would have to dig up and expose the roots (and you have to be cautious about it so the tree doesn't tip over) and trim them back. If you're prudent about it, it shouldn't kill the tree. Pruning roots is no different than pruning branches. If it's only one side that's near the wall, then maybe it can be done. The question becomes, is it worth it? I understand how a tree that's been in one's backyard for a life time has sentimental value. I would have no idea what it would cost. As someone said above I would call a tree specialist. They should provide a free estimate.

    Splicing and grafting might be an option, but they are rather complicated. I have an uncle who used spliced grape vines. You can do a search on those procedures but I remember many years ago when I gardened trying it on something and failing miserably.
    Updated 10-10-2017 at 10:48 PM by Virgil
  6. mtpspur's Avatar
    Checking in after the usual way too long absence and glad to see still a regular here. I can't believe the years have flown by as they have.