Regular readers may recall the problems we’ve had with our neighbours large and overhanging trees. Half our garden was completely shaded in the summer months, and several degrees cooler. This meant my vegetable growing area was restricted to the other half of the garden and the small greenhouse we built in March 2020 was almost useless. They topped one tree a week last Sunday (though as you can see, they didn’t remove the lower twiggy growth), and on Monday afternoon – a lovely surprise – as they took down the tree closest to our boundary. There may be a stump, but it is below wall height and therefore not visible.

So, after at least seven years of cutting back overhanging branches on our side, and repeated requests to cut them back or thin them out, last autumn I finally got him to come round to our side to see the impact they were having.

I’m not kidding myself that he’s done this for our benefit, because he hasn’t (he’s got two log-burners to feed), but it is a great weight lifted and we’re looking forward so seeing the results over this next twelve months.

It was no fun trying to clean up all the sawdust left behind on the patio – and getting walked into the house on a regular basis. First we tried brushing, then a workshop vaccum cleaner, then the garden vac. Then a combination of everything, We got most of it and added it to the compost bin.

I had been planning a re-vamp of that border, wanting to fill it with shade-loving woodland plants (primroses, bluebells, white and pale flowers). And there may still be scope to do that as the large tree you can still see in the images is a sixty-feet high laburnum, but set further back. The canopy won’t be as dense as the sycamores that have gone, so it should be dappled shade rather than a complete black-out.

I won’t miss the leaves that fill our patio from September onwards. I won’t miss the slippery green algae that forms on the shady patio under the kitchen window that makes collecting rainwater from the water butt a slip hazard. I am planning that this is were my potato bags will go, freeing up the top patio for just sitting, the patio step for flowering plants, and the area in front of the oil tank is reserved for all the pots of cherry tomatoes I hope to grow.