I hate cutting down trees, especially big mature ones. But last year it became apparent that one of the pair of massive umbrella pines by the front door was leaning dangerously and threatening to fall onto the house and the other had started to lift the foundations with its roots. It took more than 6 months to get a permit to chop then down - a full Environmental Impact Assessment had to be drafted by a Chartered Surveyor and submitted to the local Comune, Provincial Government and Communita Montana (forestry commission) and maybe some others who I can't recall. It then took a further 6 months to get someone to come and do the deed. Finally last week a machine with a raised platform arrived and they set about with chain saws chopping off branches that lean right onto the main high tension power cable. Miraculously nobody got hurt and the trees are now a heap of about 5 tons of logs and masses of branches. But now there is an uninterrupted view across to Lake Trasimeno and to Tuoro where Hannibal defeated Flaminius in 217BC. Very nice.
Meanwhile, the great olive tree that was moved from the other side of the hill to the end of the pond has been causing great anxiety. Although it had already survived two summers and one winter in its new location, in December there was an unprecedented hard frost with temperatures down to minus 8 deg or lower. The poor tree shed a lot of leaves and looked most unhappy - I was stuck in snow-bound London at the time and could do nothing to help. On my return I decided to try a technique I had seen in South Korea at the onset of winter: they wrap thick layers of sacking and coir around the trunks of precious trees to keep the lymph flowing. I could only find blue-coloured fleece fabric, so my olive tree has spent most of the winter wearing a snazzy blue waistcoat covered with plastic to keep it dry. Yesterday I went to check and found the first green shoots appearing on the nodes of the main branches - still alive but maybe it will lose some smaller branches. Phew!