The tree was already several storeys high before I arrived and its beauty was the reason I came to live here. At the time I had no idea that that beauty can be friend and foe.
From the south east corner of my front yard its canopy casts its shade on half the property. Unlike most deciduous trees it sheds its leaves in spring, leaving its branches bare but for the buds of the burst of purple that each year announces the approach of summer and the end of year examinations for students in Australia. The intervals between leaf drop and flower burst and flower drop and new leaves are the only opportunities for anything in my garden to emerge, and vie for light and the warmth of the sun.
I wrote a poem about that interval once but having searched three computers back, it’s nowhere to be seen. Why look back: I chastised myself. You probably won’t like what you find. There’s a reason why some things are buried in the past.
There is no question of chopping down a tree like this to give light to my garden so my plants struggled in its shadow. The tree is generous enough to allow light in during part of the growing season.
Then one day my neighbour served me with a complaint. The continuous confetti from my tree is ruining the “Duco” (paint) on her BMW. I consulted an arborist and his suggestion: raise the canopy of the tree!
Is such a thing possible? Yes – the lower branches that had reached a third neighbour (ours are tiny inner city blocks) were lopped and hey – here comes the sun! Now my car space receives light from the north in summer (remember we’re down under) and my fruit trees started to thrive.
That’s the beginning of my urban orchard.
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm – a video (4:33) on my urban orchard by ABCTV.