Everyone wants to live on a property with trees on it, right? Wrong. My brother, Robert, is so opposed to the idea that he’s been known to remove a perfect healthy Japanese maple and an adolescent fig tree, just so he ‘doesn’t have to deal with them’. That was his first order of business upon moving in at his current address, and he’s since filled the sites where these specimens stood with turf so luridly green and stiff it might as well be artificial.
That’s Robert’s idea of a garden – just a big expanse of turf, right up to the unobtrusive border that he’s neatly installed along each fence line. These borders are all planted with the same run-of-the-mill hedging plant engineered to provide a low-maintenance edging and screening solution for suburban residential applications. No muss, no fuss. What can I say? Each to their own and all that.
Anyway, Robert is now looking to move up in the property market, and to that end he’s seeking professional assistance in finding a place that meets his tree-free specifications. He told me he’s found himself a buyer’s agent. For properties in Melbourne, it seems, it’s becoming necessary for buyers to have someone on hand whose job it is to judge whether a place is good or not. Or, rather, whether it fits said buyer’s preferences – which don’t necessarily translate to good taste.
That’s what I can’t understand about Robert’s thing with trees. From my perspective, it’s a matter of bad taste, but the weird thing is that he has quite good taste in other areas of his life. He works as a sommelier at a hatted fine-dining joint, for crying out loud, and owns a bokashi bin. Maybe he was traumatised by a tree as a child, although you’d think I’d know about that seeing as I’m the older child.
Maybe it’s something to do with minimalism? Maybe he enjoys sticking it to carbon sequestration? Or maybe he just likes to be difficult? I don’t know; it’s not my problem.