I love spending time in the garden. When I need to think or read, or just relax, I often head out there and sit underneath the trees, listening to the birds and watching my dogs wandering through the plants in search of cat trails. My garden has thirteen mature trees in it, along with a selection of young fruit trees and some rowan saplings grown from fallen berries. I enjoy being near them and if I could have my own little patch of woodland to wander around I would be a very happy woman.
Other people clearly do not feel the same way.
Yesterday, one of my neighbours cut down a beautiful bronze-leafed cherry tree that was planted in that garden long before he moved in. Blue tits, goldfinches and greenfinches often nested in it. Blackbirds and thrushes ate the cherries. The tree itself looked beautiful in any weather and it was always the first to become covered in white blossom in Spring.
Now it is a stump.
Over the past few years I have seen neighbours cut down conifer trees, rowan trees and cherry trees of different kinds. Many of them seem to want a plain patch of grass in their gardens and the trees are just getting in the way.
I think that is very sad.
If everyone who had gardens large enough grew a few trees the air would be cleaner, insects and birds would thrive and gardens would be beautiful, instead of bland boring spaces of trampled grass. The trees on my land are home to wood pigeons, dunnocks, chaffinches, greenfinches, blue tits, coal tits, doves, wrens and sparrows, even the odd woodpecker. They house countless insects - including many solitary bees - and a colony of bats has roosted among them for years.
If you are thinking of taking down a tree, please consider the wildlife that may already be using it. Or if you have space, why not think about planting a few of your own? Autumn is the best time to do it and there are some useful guides here.
Fortunately, there are still some people in the area who love their trees. Hopefully theirs will remain standing for many years to come, unlike the bronze-leafed cherry, whose branches have just been left to curl and die upon my neighbour's grass.
Our gardens do not end at the walls and fences. They are part of a larger ecosystem that lives around us and that ecosystem relies partly on the patches of land that we look after. Nature wants to thrive, and so long as people stop getting in its way, removing established habitats for no good reason, it will.