When I look out the window of my home office here in my home in Kildare I see some beautiful trees which I am pleased to say I planted many years ago when we first moved to this property. The trees, like myself, have matured and aged and we have both taken on a slightly different aspect and colour with the effluxion of time.
Whilst the trees and I share the acquisition of a different shade the trees have acquired more foliage and it is fair to say I have shed a good deal.
The shades of green and yellow and brown change dramatically from season to season, month to month, week to week, and-depending on the sun and daylight-from hour to hour. I don’t know the names of these trees that have been with us for all our time in this place in North Kildare but I do see them as personal to me and this property.
One of them is slightly crowded out and overlooked by a bigger, neighbouring tree but it has adapted to its circumstances by growing at an angle in search of light. Despite its slightly lopsided appearance it appears to be in robust good health.
It is flanked by a shorter yellow tree and two taller trees, both of which impede the sunlight. Nearer the entrance there is an unusual tree which has a decidedly droopy appearance on account of the way the branches appear to all emanate from one central point in the trunk of the tree to then proceed to give the effect of water spilling over out of a fountain.
One tree, in particular, has grown a good deal taller than the others and this is not, I believe, a reflection of the health of the other trees but as a consequence of the type of tree that it is.
We should probably have cut it back at some point in the last few years but, as you know, when you top a tree and prevent it from growing upwards it will grow out at the sides and letting it grow up and reach for the sky would have seemed like a sensible approach; but if the truth is to be told it has just grown upwards unnoticed us and we cannot take credit for any coherent approach, sensible or otherwise, regarding these trees.
At the front of our property, between our house and the road, there is a towering old ash tree (I think) that predates our family and our house. It stands sentinel at the front, and dominates all the other trees by reason of its height and size in comparison to the later plantings.
In the wintertime when the weather is stormy I am always fearful that it will be blown down and end up in our front lawn, or worse up against the house itself. It is difficult to estimate if it would reach our house if it fell but I fear it would.
When cutting the bit of grass in the front lawn and the grass verge between our property and the public road I am always aware of the life of this tree because there are always smaller, weaker branches that have been cast off on the ground and which cause a tremendous racket with the blades of my lawn mower.
A few months ago a neighbour was moving a mobile home or temporary wooden structure down the road and our tree necessitated the use of an advance driver in a tractor who surveyed the road and ensured that overhanging branches from trees like mine did not impede or prevent the transportation. I felt a certain sense of duty to keep an eye on proceedings and ensure the tree was treated respectfully and only branches that were absolutely necessary to be removed were removed to allow the progress of the caravan.
Anyway, this tree has about seven main branches with many smaller branches shooting off the main branches and this time of the year-May-it looks magnificent for it has all its leaves and it looks strong and in good health. It’s taller than it is wide and its width is approximately 40 or 50 feet.
These trees, the old one at the front and the later arrivals that I planted, are just there with us, sharing our patch of earth, and they will be there long after we are gone.
Meanwhile, it is a real pleasure to look out my home office window on a weekend morning and to see the sun shining its rays through the branches of all these trees and showing, to stunning effect, the disparate and distinguishing colours and shades of each individual tree, with its own unique aspect and personality.