Today I cut down a tree.
The tree I cut down was not a mature and beautiful native tree providing a home to native bird-life, and shade for passersby. It was… all right, I don’t know what it was, exactly. Maybe some kind of hawthorn? Definitely and absolutely some kind of thorn. (Not, I hasten to add, matagouri, which is New Zealand’s only native thorny-thing.)
Thorns alone are not enough to condemn a plant, mind you. Look at blackberries, or roses, or the sago palm. But they provide food, and, in the case of the rose, beauty and scent as well. This tree provided… well, once a year for a couple of weeks it would have flowers which were unobjectionable, let’s put it that way.
Not native, not beautiful, not scented, not food-bearing, not friendly – not doing a whole lot to justify its existence, in fact.
Cutting it down has brought a whole lot more sunlight into the garden bed below (note to self: nobble that agapanthus before it gets any ideas), and has made our house seem less like it is fortified behind a wall of inch-plus thorns. Friendlier, methinks.
And of course, unlike the city council, I intend to plant something in the old tree’s place. Specifically, a Pat Austin rose.
Of course, the stumps of ye olde thorn-monster will need to be dug out, and the soil generally built up and improved, so it’ll probably be winter 2020 by the time the rose is installed. But the time shall come when passersby shall enjoy rich scent and glowing colour in lieu of a straggling spike-fest trying to relieve them of their hat.
Yes, I, who wept over the mighty fallen trees, cut down a tree. But I still think it was the right decision.
Next decision: how to deal with a mass of thorny plant material. The trunks and thick branches shall be seasoned for firewood, but what of the thorns? the twigs? the thorns? the leaves? the thorns? I’ve always been one for recycling plant matter, but I hear thorns take a long time to compost, and it would be a lifetime career to remove those thousands of thorns one by one.
Anyone have any suggestions?