She offered it to me, on condition that I came and dug it up myself, which seemed like a reasonable bargain, so I went over there a couple of weekends ago and did the deed.
Can you see that the ends of the lower branches are not single at the end, but have branched out?
That is because the previous occupiers have hacked off the ends of the branches in order to get past it. And whenever you cut the tips off the branches, they, well, branch!
The tricky bit was wrapping it up beforehand - in case you didn't know, this tree is just about the prickliest thing known to man, and draws blood at the most casual touch.
In order to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, I gently bent the branches upwards, and tied them with string, then wrapped the whole thing in brown paper (with copious thanks to Paula for the suggestion) and tied it again.
Here we are safely at home, and plunged into a trough of water to have a good drink and recover from the experience.
Please note that the brown paper wrapping is nearly off - it's a real wriggler!
Next day, it was time to get it into a pot, so I pulled the brown paper back into position and potted it up.
Once again, please note that the tree is definitely trying to wriggle out of the wrapping!
It was bad enough potting it, I had to wear my thick Winter Touch gloves.
And even then, one little branch escaped the string, and stabbed me in the wrist.
With cries of "stand well back!" I released the string, and here it is in all its glory.
It was immediately apparent that as well as being flat on one side - where it backed onto the fence - it is disproportionately wide.
Looking at it from the "right" side, it's clear that those lower, tufty-ended branches are going to have to go, along with three spindly ones that are adding nothing to the overall shape.
"Snip! Snip! Snip!"
Done. Much better.
Ah - Houston, we have a problem!
Bearing in mind that every leaf on every branch is tipped with a rock-hard, razor-sharp spine, this little tree is in the wrong place!
This is the only corner of my front yard that has room for it, and now I can't get to the Fritillary.
Looks like it's going to have to emigrate to the back garden, any day now...
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