Tree Killer

As a gardener I have a profound respect for growing things.  I cherish my plants, try to offer the Earth good things in the way of water and compost.  I LOVE my soil for bringing me amazing gifts of fruit and vegetables and flowers. I am not into killing things of the green persuasion.

That said, a few months ago I paid for someone to come and, ahem, remove some trees from my yard.  This was not wanton disregard for mother nature. Really.  These tall occupants of my yard were stealing precious sun from my garden, causing problems by harboring rodents, and continually saw fit to make babies in spots that I preferred to remain tree-less.  They were asking for it, if  you see what I mean.

Brazilan Pepper Tree - invasive, rat harborer, seedling thrower. Enemy #1.

So I found a company that would come and take down the trees, chip the remains for mulch, and pretty much leave my yard clean. Of course, just as with every project for which I hire labor, this did not go quite as planned. After cutting down the trees, the company men saw fit to drag the remains through the yard, over my daughter’s favorite PlayMobile school house (good-bye skeleton and chalkboard, who knows where you came to rest?) – knocking down an entire downspout as they went. Oh, and they knocked off the top of the stone wall in the front for good measure.

The tree folks fixed all the physical damage created by dragging massive limbs around the yard.  I could not quite figure out why they did not cut them down and throw them over the fence to the chipper parked just on the other side. This is the type of question that apparently creates ill will when posed to the “professionals.”

When the dust and wood chips cleared, I surveyed my yard and garden. SUN. Sun everywhere!  We probably extended the day for the garden by 3 hours. Major happiness for all.  Sorta.

The evening following the great tree removal, a flock of mourning doves scratched and picked their way around the back lawn.  Finches perched on the garden fence. There were birds everywhere. And they looked…sad. Or perhaps homeless.  I distinctly heard them whispering…”Tree killer.  Tree killer. Tree killer.” They looked upon me with derisive bird sneers. They pooped on my patio chairs. They did their best, in short, to let me know that I had removed, not just unwanted trees, but their leafy abode. A sense of profound guilt washed over me.

The birds, of course, have found  homes in other places around my yard and neighborhood.  Including the top of the diseased Acacia located in the front yard of the house across our back fence.

Poor Acacia, not long for this world.

On Saturday, while my niece and I were sweating up a storm and painting the garden fence with a thick coating of boiled Linseed oil, the Acacia came down. No, it didn’t fall as predicted by my tree men.  It was removed – one 4 foot section at a time – by a tree removal company.  And with each cut a snowfall of wood chips descended upon our yard, sticking to the wet fence, and creating a deep mulch bed over every inch of my yard. Huge mess.  Brilliant.

I had actually informed my neighbors of the impending noise and mess days before our trees were removed. The real estate company selling the house across the fence apparently didn’t feel that was necessary. And you know what? There was a line of birds on the phone wires above, watching the whole thing. I am fairly sure they were laughing. As someone once said, karma can be a real bitch.



Having a garden has given me many things. A place of peace where I can go to work through stress.  A better looking landscape. Stronger ties to the Earth and to my daughter through shared work. An appreciation of the origination of our food supply.

My garden has also given me the sheer, audacious gift of abundance. My zucchini are both numerous and large enough to become building materials (slight, slight exaggeration – but you should see my zucchini cabin, grin). I could make tomato soup for an army.  And I can give away food. This last item fills me with joy.

I was raised in a family of 5 children, with a live-in Grand-mere, there were always friends or my father’s students with us at meals. We never cooked for less than 8 and often for 15 or more people. I still have a problem making a meal that just feeds my family of three.  Leftovers are a fact of life – I simply don’t know how to do small.

The act of giving was part of our table and way of life. To be able now to reach into my garden and pick fruits and vegetables that I can share with others is a gift in its own right. An amazing place, the garden.

Saturday harvest of Lemon Boy tomatoes - ready for giving