Today’s post is written with a heavy heart indeed…I dreaded going home today to behold the dismal fruits of the tree surgeon’s labors:  tree pruning, or lopping, as I’ve come to learn.

I’m no tree-hugger, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I literally wept this morning at the sound of the tree surgeon revving his saw.  I looked out my 2nd floor flat at the branches that were always eye-level—indeed filling our entire view out the giant sash windows with vibrant green leaves.  As those leaves rustled in the cool morning breeze, it looked as though they were waving goodbye.

24 plane trees, reduced “to point of last reduction,” per the borough council website.

Last night as my husband and I roamed to the opposite side of our square to lament the sheer ugliness of the stumpy trees (they look just like a horrid winter scene painting I made in 5th grade when I couldn’t quite grasp that branches should taper) a neighbor in the square informed us that this occurs every 7 years on this particular site.  Over those 7 years, a lovely growth of young branches had emerged, which we’ve enjoyed over the last 2 years; what leaves (pun intended) me sad right now is simply the thought of not getting to see them turn this autumn :(.  The leaves also soaked up a lot of street noise, as we noticed during the winters when their bareness created no buffer.

Thanks for listening to me whimper.  I’m an aesthetics-oriented gal and have enjoyed those trees and the songbirds that serenaded from their fine branches by mere virtue of dwelling in our flat.  My pensive moments writing at the computer that send me looking out the window for the right words to come might meet with a little less inspiration now…I just don’t know.

In any case, this phenomenon is something that I’ve first really come to notice to this drastic extent here in London and elsewhere in Europe.  In many-a neighborhood, you’ll encounter this shorn vegetation, which must be approved by borough councils pursuant to Tree Protection Orders (TPO); trees located in historic conservation areas are likewise protected.

I suppose these English gardeners know what they’re doing for the better of the trees, and sometimes it’s necessary to protect the buildings in close proximity—in our case, a Victorian church (which is luckily so pretty in itself), not that I’m sure that’s the reason.  I’m devastated that it’s happening in the middle of summer when they’re so lush, but I guess with all the trees in this beautifully green city, the workload has to be spread around all year, and the season of pruning is supposedly irrelevant to what’s best for the tree itself.  All we can do is cross our fingers that the trees persevere through the trauma, healing over to shield themselves from disease so that residents can enjoy them for generations to come.

I reckon when life gives us a good lopping, we grow stronger for it, too :).