Saturday, 27 December 2014

Trimming and felling

We have had Luke and Diane staying with us this weekend - they arrived on Saturday morning from Wellington complete with the van, the high-sided trailer and a full range of tree-felling tools. The plan was to get rid of some of the excessive growth of the trees around the property to let more light into the house and the garden and to give the remaining trees a chance to fill out. So, soon after arrival, Luke was suited and booted with all the requisite safety gear, and fortified by millionaire shortbread and coffee, and on to work he went. The first part of the work was culling trees (selective felling and trimming) in the patch beside our bedroom. The trees had been planted too close together many years ago and were now so crowded that they had to grow extremely high to get light on their leaves. That meant little light into the bedroom and early shading of the back garden. By the end of Saturday, we were able to sit outside in the dappled sunlight in an area that hadn't had afternoon/evening sun for years! Unfortunately I was so busy moving the branches away from where they were dropping that I didn't get any photos! But the neighbours over the back fence, Graeme and Joy, were thrilled with the new look. They have been in their house 20 years and no trimming had occurred in that time. Not surprising really as George the former owner would already have been in his mid 70s at that point.
After lunch, Luke started on the clematis that was growing on the cabbage trees - that took the rest of the afternoon - far longer than any of us had thought.

Safety helmet with visor and ear muffs, gloves, chaps to protect his legs, boots - Luke's the man!
See the height and width of the clematis in comparison to David and the ladder - our neighbour John tells us that the clematis was there when they first arrived 40 years ago.

Luke is up in there somewhere, battling the clematis and trying to avoid the wetas ...

The cabbage trees are clear of clematis - what a mission!

Luke decides to try playing the harp ...

David had spent much of the day filling the trailer and trampling the branches and greenery down inside it and by the time he got to this stage, he could barely stand up again.
 This morning David had to go to Masterton to see his mum who had been quite poorly yesterday - she cannot manage the heatpump and the nightstore heater so had both going - the former trying to get rid of the heat from the latter (which is not meant to be on during the summer ... David tells me he has removed the fuse now to prevent future mishaps). Diane strained her back yesterday with all the lifting/pulling/stretching, so Luke and I were pretty much on our own today. Good thing he is strong with plenty of endurance!
Today's tasks were to get rid of the clematis mountain and trim to my head height the camellias in the photo below - when that photo was taken they were still about 15 - 20 feet high. Altogether there were 5 trailer-loads and 4 woolsacksful removed today. And there are now two  mountains of camellia trimmings awaiting removal by Peter who will chip them and use them as mulch in his orchard.

At this point we had already taken 2 loads to the transfer station, and Luke had chainsawed through the clematis that was left so he could get it on his pitchfork - it was the thick stuff from close to its roots.

Loading the pitchfork

And lift

And dump it in the trailer

I load the small stuff into the woolsack and Luke lifts it into the back of the van
Trampling the clematis down on the third trailer load this morning
The camellias are trimmed! It looks brutal, but they will come back bushy and more manageable. The one on the left needs more trimming to remove crossed branches.
One of the piles of camellia trimming that I stacked on the edge of the driveway - I can get the car through the gap.
I don't know what this tree  is but it is lovely and now able to be seen outside our bedroom - yesterday Luke removed about 5 trees, trimmed two large branches off a 25 foot high rhododendron that was shading our bedroom and draping itself over the roof. and trimmed two large camellias to about my head height.

This is the end result all clematis removed and the trees can breathe again. I will plant something low beside it, possibly agapanthus.
 So, here we are at 7.40pm on Sunday. Luke and Di left about 4pm and I have been blobbing and blogging since then. A great weekend's work, thank you Luke, thank you, Di.


Lesley Bateman said...

Looks much better, but poor David looks absolutely knackered. Handy having an that is handy with a chain saw.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi ODS, it is going to look worse before it looks better really as there is so much that hasn't been pruned for years and years.
Luke is a gem - his dad was an arborist and Luke has all his tools plus his own chainsaw. He's coming back this Sunday to drop 3 more trees out the back and a huge camellia at the front. Exciting stuff!

Lesley Bateman said...

Pity you don't have an open fire. You could always get a pot bellied stove for the patio and burn the logs on colder evenings.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Too warm here for an outside fire, ODS! The trimmings have been donated to worthy causes - some went to friends for use in building a wind break, the rest to another friend to be chipped and put under trees. Mind you, there are more trimmings now, and there'll be more this coming Sunday when Luke comes back ...

Lesley Bateman said...

Now yes, but what about spring and autumn?

Marilyn McDonald said...

The inside gas fire will be fine then and if it's cold outside, we'll use the house as shelter ...