This week Simon came to me and said we were going to have a problem with our vegetable garden. The Syringa tree (an alien invader) in my neighbour's yard hangs over the boundary wall and casts a large shadow on the beds for most of the day. Vegetables need a significant amount of sun to grow so we needed to make a plan. I phoned Janneman (the young neighbour) and asked him if we could cut the branches overhanging our garden. It's a law in South Africa - you may cut any growth from a shrub or tree which intrudes into your garden even if the roots are in the neighbour's plot. However, I have wonderful neighbours on all three sides (with a fourth, our bank manager over the boundary wall in the large garden - where my ponds are - and I want to remain friends with him!) and wanted to do it properly, so I phoned him for permission. Janneman said we could cut any branches we wanted to and that my gardeners could enter his garden to do it. Which is what we did. When (and I hope it is when and not if) my vegetables are ready for harvesting, I will send Janneman a basketful as a thank you gift
John was the first person up the tree .He scaled it before I arrived with my camera! Grant gave John nylon rope with which to tie the branches so that they could be lowered carefully to the ground. We didn't want the boundary wall to be damaged in the process
John waits while David fetches a ladder
David borrowed a long ladder from Janneman's gardener who was involved in this operation as well, albeit only from the firm position of the ground below the tree!
David reaches the branch where John is waiting with the saw around his neck
John stands on a large branch and saws the extended branches. David stands on another branch and watches. This process was repeated several times, with both the gardeners taking turns in sawing and watching (as their turn came along) until the job was done
I think John and David did a fine job of removing the offending branches without mutilating the tree
At 9.30am there was a lot more sun on the vegetable garden than before. By midday the whole bed had full sun. I'm praying that my vegetables start growing now. I have pampered and molly coddled them enough; it's pay back time!