It doesn't look too bad. The pink dogwood is blooming at the corner of our driveway and it looks good. Not bad at all, from this angle. Beautifully shaped and elegant, as Cornus florida can be. A perfect small tree.
From another angle you can see it is missing its middle.
The inner canopy of this tree was pruned out by a heavy snowstorm last fall, when the leaves were still on all the trees, and the weight of wet, early season snow was too much to bear.
The dogwood looked like this after the storm.
But my friend Becky said "just wait. It won't look so bad next spring." I wasn't buying it, the damage was right before my eyes and it was too awful. I thought she was just trying to comfort me.
She was right. The trees and shrubs that weren't outright decapitated or uprooted (I had several of those) do not look so bad this spring. With some leaves on, or some flowers obscuring the wounds, it's okay.
Sunlight will get to the open middle now, new leaves will sprout, and the canopy will recover. It may never have the dense, full shapely form it had, but it will look great, especially when hot pink flowers cover it, and especially from one side, where the damage to its shape is not visible.
This is where the gardener says "flaws and breaks and deformities add character to my garden."
Trees earn their places in our gardens year after year, documenting in their enduring, anchored forms the calamities, the struggles, the memorable occasions (I won't forget that freaky snowstorm) and the ongoing joys of watching the unpredictable unfold.