There was a bit of digging at the beginning, then the slaughter of an existing tree, then a bit of sawing, a bit more digging, a bit of the old shoveling, tamping down the soil, and water.
The hardest bit by far was the slaughter of the existing tree.
It was the first fruit tree I ever planted. I chose a dwarf cherry tree from a catalogue because it's the finest tasting fruit in the world, and I marked out the perfect spot in the back garden. Full sun, and protection from the wind.
I planted it out, watered it up, spread in some fertiliser, then sat back and waited.
My dwarf cherry tree failed to thrive.
Thinking that it was a failure of the soil, or the type of tree was incompatible with Christchurch weather, I bought another five dwarf cherry trees and plant them around the side of the house. Where there's clay soil, and no sun. Rather than grass surrounds, it's moss.
Those trees thrived. To the point that I have to firmly prune them back each year in order to not have them growing through our guttering, and scraping across the spare bedroom window.
The tree out the back with its perfect positioning meanwhile? Well it half-heartedly put together a few leaves and a few blossoms each spring. By the end of summer it could usually have summoned a whole dozen leaves per branch. All three of them. And the cherries? Never had one.
So when I mentioned to my darling that what the house really needs is an apple tree and he swore I could put another fruit tree in only if I dug one out, there was never any question as to which tree would be going.
I still felt as though I was picking up the runt of the litter and drowning it in a sack as I sawed its branches off.
And then tonight on the news I see that there are sixteen hundred fruit and nut trees with their produce going begging in the red zone. If I'd held back I could've gone on a scavenger hunt to pick up my fresh fruit, rather than murder a living thing in my back yard.
Of course, then I'd have to leave the property, and that's never good. So I guess I'm standing by my decision which is always a plus when it's too late to take it back.