Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Last autumn, the council cut back the blackberry bushes and with them went branches from trees; not big, fat, you-could-hang-a-swing-from-them-branches but they were, none the less, large enough to be split and squashed and splayed by the machine which mashed its way relentlessly along the hedgerow.
(The council is keen to emphasise it was a contractor, not the council itself which did this - but it was the council which contracted the contractor . . . so I find it hard to separate them.)
Here we are, a year on and this post is to show what happened to some of the broken branches. Last December, I was using a mobile phone camera which I could hold up high and still and take pictures one handed. When I dropped the phone down the loo, that was then end of that and I'm using a 'proper' camera now - which is heavier . . . and needs two hands. What with a different camera and nettles and brambles, it hasn't been possible to take the latest photos from the same angle. In one case (on the oak) I'm not sure I've even re-photographed the same branch! (But I think it is and it's on the same tree so I hope it'll do.)
Another difference is the season. The ones from last year were taken 3rd - 5th December 2008. This year, I thought it would be good to include leaves so I've taken them a bit early and the presence of leaves (and clouds!) makes them darker, less dramatic. I think it's worth it though. One comes from 29th October 2009. I'm still uncertain about that tree - birch . . . alder . . . ? It's the bark which stumps me. I've included a cropped photo of the catkins on that one. When I take another, better one, I'll swap it. The rest, I took yesterday (17th November 2009) - three weeks early but already too late for elderberry leaves. The thing about elderberry is that it looks much more substantial when in leaf than it does when the branches are bare. In the summer, it's a green blob and they are barely discernable. In winter, it's thin and skeletal and hardly shows that it ever grew anything green. Viewed from even a short distance away, it does a good impression of being dead. I'd have needed to be very observant and assiduous about timing to have stood myself by the elderberry when it had leaves and branches to be seen at the same time and at a moment when the sun was shining - in the right direction!
I like elderberry; and one of the good things about it where I live is that it provides a good perch for lichen and this lichen is very rain re-active. In December, the weather can be blue-sky-crisp-cold-and-dry. In November, it's more likely to be wet and windy. That's what it is at present and the light and the lichen show it. The November pictures are darker than the December ones and the lichen in them is green instead of yellow. It's even greener when wetter and takes hardly any time to change. My guess is that wind is drying it almost as fast as rain lands.
To the trees:-
December 5th 2008

The same tree - October 24th 2009
From this point on, the layout is weird. I have tried and tried to sort it but, unless I am to devote the rest of my life . . . well, I'm giving up. I have no idea why it is in large print and why the captions won't sit neatly where I want them . . . 'spec you'll manage!
OAK Oak - 3rd December 2008
Oak - 17th November 2009
Oak - 3rd December 2008
Oak - November 17th 2009
The reproductive (!) quality of pictures from here on isn't good. I was using the new editor. The pictures above - I've managed to replace using the old editor. Will probably sort this but ANOTHER DAY! aAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
Splayed Elder with Shoot - 3rd December 2008
Splayed Elder - 17th November 2009
Elderberry Whirl - 2008
Elderberry Whirl - 17th November 2009
And was I wrong? Trees can be slow movers but, so far, they don't seem to have been too troubled by the damage done to them by council's (I mean the contractor's) cutting machines. I'll keep watching. But my preliminary conclusion is that I was wrong. I didn't make jam. It's possible that birds were disturbed. I'm not a bird person and I can't tell. If I was wrong to worry - I apologise. On the other hand . . . I'm glad I've watched.


Nell Jean said...

Terrible! Government entities need instruction on proper techniques of tree cutting, all across the country.

Here, the county whacks off branches of oaks, 6 or 8 feet out from the trunk. Eventually the butchered limb is going to die back to the trunk, and finally fall off over a period of years. Not a pretty sight with a great chance of insect and disease damage. Proper tree care is not that difficult, it just takes a little instruction.

tina said...

What a mess. Poor poor trees.

Elephant's Eye said...

Wails - we have the same tree problem with our municipal employees. They use a chain saw from a cherry picker, like a HUGE lawnmower. The level of the 'lawn' being the telephone lines, which the trees have to say under.

easygardener said...

Well the trees are recovering but I still think there is no excuse for the crudeness of the trimming. The branches look like they have been chewed by some giant herbivore - and not in a neat guinea pig sort of way.

Elephant's Eye said...

blogspot and the new post editor? Sometimes it just seems like it has indigestion. Nothing I can do will convince it to do what I TELL it to. But the next post works again!

Ron Eklof said...

I am grateful you have the eyes and willingness to record what many overlook.
Once, again, nature heals it's wounds; continues it's transformations without a thought. We think, nature responds.

Victoria said...

I read the title of this post and even before I read it, I thought: "I bet she wasn't."
It is astonishing how well plants (and people, come to that) can heal following appalling treatment. But that doesn't mean the treatment should be tolerated.
And as for the council saying it wasn't them, it was the contractors, that's disgraceful. Why can't anyone take responsibility for anything any more?

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

The thing is, the trees are wounded--it's great they didn't die but the cuts look awful and it just offends my gardener's sensibility. Eep!

Lucy said...

Sorry to delay so long before thanking you for your all your interesting comments and in replying to them.

They are a great pleasure to me and I'm glad you too are going along with me, watching the hedgerows.


Lucy said...

Hello Nell Jean.

I think the challenge faced by those who tend long stretches of hedgerow is time. They would need an expert to go ahead of the machine, dealing with the thicker branches before the thinner ones are flailed. Time . . . money . . . knowledge. Easy to say, harder for a council to achieve. None the less it wouldn't have to be done often so . . .

There seems to be encroaching die back on one of the branches I am watching but whether it matters in the end . . . well, we'll see!


Lucy said...

Hello Tina.

Yes! Poor trees!

Although everything seems to be reverting 'to nature' it was a very desolate scene when first it was done. People walking between the hedges fell silent.


Lucy said...

Hello Diana.

How can such things be happening all over the world? It's daft.


Lucy said...

Easygardener - despite the seriousness of your comment, I've gone off into thoughts of a giant guinea pig roaming the hedgerows, seeking what it might devour. From my limitted knowledge of guinea pigs, it would be anything and everything tender and such a beast would reek more destruction than our flailing machines and Diana's cherry picker together.


Lucy said...

Victoria. I appreciate your anger. It seethes through your words.

When, last year, I first saw what was being done, it was terrible. Almost worse was trying to restrain a guest who was nigh on attacking the workers. My contention was that they were under instructions and needed the work. But I did go into the council offices . . . and to give the council credit, they did say they would trim the hedgerows at other times of year in future.

To say 'it wasn't me it was them but I paid them to do it' does seem a bit of a feeble excuse though!


Lucy said...

Hello Monica.

What you say is the very thing I am struggling with in myself. That it offends isn't really the point. Not ultimately. And if the branches don't become diseased . . . maybe I must admit I shouldn't have been so cross.

What's done is done. My thought is that it is a.) something to learn from either way and b.) that keeping the hedges trimmed back so new branches don't get too thick is now the important thing.

And as for our gardeners' sensibilities, Esther and I sometimes debate this . . . hedgerows are not gardens, nor are gardens hedgerows (though it looks as if yours was making a grand bid to become one before you launched a fight back!)


Lucy said...

Hello Ron.

I think this is one of the important things about blogs. I'm not sure I would be following these branches with such care if it weren't that I could talk with others about them here.

It's a double encouragement - that I am sort of walking the hedgerows in company . . . and that when people stop and ask what I'm doing and try to look interested but only succeed in looking puzzled - I can think of all you LOOSE AND LEAFY readers and remind myself that you don't think I'm daft. At least, I think you don't!