Taming Granny Elder

This corner of the garden has been a dead zone since day one. The kindest thing I can say about the previous owners is that they were not gardeners.  With the exception of a couple of random roses, everything in here has to go. One day I would like to have it clear and plant a proper border. But in the meantime, there was the dilemma of Granny Elder. 

To the left is a nice pear tree, which I've managed to keep tidy, but Granny Elder has been left to her own devices and needed a good trim. My initial thought was to take her out completely, but the birds like her and although I am not remotely superstitious, it is common folk-lore that it is bad luck to chop down an elder tree.  Do I believe this? No. Did I feel uneasy about chopping her down? Yes.

So Joe and I set about cutting her down to a respectable size. She was full of dead branches and straggly growth, so it was really just what she needed. Elder tree wood is tricksy stuff, liable to break easily and if you find yourself climbing up - or down - a bank, don't grab an elder branch as it will more likely than not snap off in your grasp, leaving you in the lurch and scrabbling for safety. 

We reduced her to half her original height, opening up the corner and letting in the light. Her new growth will be bushier and healthier for the trim; I'm a devotee of hard pruning. If something survives being cut right back, it will come back all the better for it. 

Now I am steadily hand cutting the big pile of cuttings, as council regulations state that garden waste bits must be no more than 8 inches in length if they are to go in the green recycling bin. I am not using a tape measure.


BumbleVee said...

yeh...recycling, pagh!@ They've regulated it almost out of existence these days. We are only able to put in this or that or this size or that type of plastic. It's gone crazy.

I used to love my garbage men...but, nowadays ..we have green bins for 'compostables' .. blue bins for recyclables, and black bins for 'other' garbage. And, each of them is HUGE. Almost as tall as me. Our compostable stuff can be up to 4 feet in length... but, if it doesn't fit in the bin properly ...we must wrap it in compostable twine... and pile it neatly beside said bin. But, they do say.. piled on top with lid open is preferable.. and, if it is on the ground... usually, the driver refuses to get out to pick it up.

New lists come out every few months to tell us what we can no longer put in recycle blue bins. They pick up the blue and green bins every week and now, the black one only every two weeks. In summer and when it is +30C... that bin stinks to high heaven after two full weeks. Yikes! Please pick up my blue and green bins once every two weeks and my black bin every.single.week !@

It's going to look pretty fab in your yard soon... good for you giving it the old 'hard' prune. Maybe it's what the old gal needs. Maybe I need a hard prune..hahahhah....

Granny Sue said...

Yay for the new job! Please give Joe my congratulations. I also have a huge elderberry bush that came up on its own beside the house. I hate to cut it because as you say the birds love it. But it's crowding out a bridal wreath spirea. I think I will cut back the elder and move the spirea.