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Too cool to fall: the trees near Parliament have their leaves removed by hand

Posted at 10:00 am, November 19, 2014 in News

We do things at a certain pace here in London, and that pace is best described as ‘AAAAARRRRRRGH!’ A tendency towards impatience is seemingly built into all of us.

All of us, that is, except trees, who are, without exception, tall, lazy bastards. Each autumn all they’ve got to do is shed their leaves, but good grief do they take their sweet time about it. Especially given that all they’ve got to do is ‘let go.’


In Westminster, humans have at last optimised this tiresome process. The Daily Telegraph’s Christopher Hope captured the curious scene above: a gardener from the House of Commons removing the leaves from each tree by hand. For here at the heart of government, even nature must march to the drum of Whitehall efficiency guidelines.

A Commons spokesperson told The Guardian that ‘if we waited for the leaves to fall off it would waste a lot of time raking them up. It is more time efficient… It is not possible to separate the cost of removing leaves from the trees in New Palace Yard from the wider cost of the gardening contract. The leaves are removed each winter as a more time-efficient alternative to raking fallen leaves.’

Autumn: inefficient! For the same reason, all Members of Parliament now shed their skin in one go, snake-style.

(One fun final fact: there are a whopping seven million trees in London. That’s almost as many trees as Londoners. We can barely be-leaf it either.)

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