Witches’ broom in the graveyard

Witches' broom, sticking out like an unsightly sore thumb

Witches’ broom, sticking out like an unsightly sore thumb

I returned to the New Plymouth graveyard, Te Henui cemetery, that I first visited just over a month ago. After my earlier delight, I wanted to see how it was progressing into a new season. Progressing, it is and I have posted a fuller album of photos on our garden Facebook page. But I was shocked at the extent of the witches’ broom in the flowering cherry trees. I have written about this common mutation on the later flowering prunus before. Some varieties are far worse affected than others and I have been spotting it all around the district but it is disappointing to see it through many of the cemetery trees. A bit of timely intervention would save these pretty trees that bring pleasure to so many. Left to its own devices, the witches’ broom will take over and necessitate the removal of the entire tree.

This pretty scene will be at risk if the witches' broom is not dealt with

This pretty scene will be at risk if the witches’ broom is not dealt with

One hopes that New Plymouth District Council will tend to this during the coming summer (pruning of cherry trees should be done in mid-summer) and not just let it get so bad that the trees are doomed.

Grim austerity where maintenance happens with a lawn mower and weed spray

Grim austerity where maintenance happens with a lawn mower and weed spray

Since my earlier post, I have discovered that She Who Tends the Graveyard is in fact a friend of ours and we had not realised the effort and time she devotes to this task. These days she is joined by two other volunteers and I really hope that the district council appreciate their sterling efforts in making this place special. The contrast between the bare austerity of the returned servicemen’s section (which might even be described as grim) and the floriferous delight of the area where these women tend to the graveyard gardens could not be more stark. It has turned a place of death into a community asset enjoyed by many. Could it perhaps take the award for the prettiest graveyard in the country?

But it is scenes like this that make Te Henui Cemetery a special place

But it is scenes like this that make Te Henui Cemetery a special place

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