April 1, 2012

Trees I Will Miss

On the first of the month Joene sponsors GOOPs, a chance to confess garden oops we have made. Check out her blog to read more.

I make plenty, but this month I want to lament the mistakes that nature makes.

Last fall a freak storm brought trees all over our state crashing to the ground, and draped limbs over electrical wires.  I lost several young trees that I had planted in 2006.  Losing a cherished plant, especially a tree where you have invested in such a long term promise to the future, is discouraging.

I lost the young Prunus 'Okame' that graced the front walk, next to our post light.

It is the earliest of the flowering cherries to bloom, and for me that was usually March 30, which means I would be admiring it just now.  It was a lovely cool pink in fog, baby pink in sunshine, and in November it wore deep orange foliage.


I pruned up the lower branch to even out the slight lean, but that was after these pictures, and I never got a shot of it in its more elegant shape. 

This was the last I saw of the Okame cherry, after the storm. 

I think nature made a mistake.  She could not have meant to eliminate such a beautiful young tree from my garden, not one with pretty flowers like these.





I also lost the redbud that was growing outside the guest room window.  It was Cercis reniformis 'Oklahoma', with waxy, shiny heart shaped leaves that were as interesting as its spring flower extravaganza in April.

It's hard to describe how spectacularly the entire guest room glowed pink when the strengthening sun shone on this little tree in April.  It filled the entire room with color.

Even in deep morning shade near the house it glowed.
 

This was my last view of the Oklahoma redbud, still in full leaf in October, the day after the storm.

I will miss this tree, not just its glorious bloom color, but the dapper round headed shape it was developing, and its healthy glossy green foliage.  Nature made a big goof taking this tree down just as it was growing into a lovely specimen.


The flowering cherry and the redbud are the two I will miss the most, partly because they had come along so far from little saplings five years before, but I lost other small trees too.

I lost another redbud, a Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' that I had just planted a few months earlier in the year.  Poor little twig, it never had a chance to show me its charms.  I liked its rich mahogany leaf color, but I never got to see it bloom.  Surely that had to be a mistake.  Not even a full season in my garden.


There isn't a picture to show you of Forest Pansy after the storm.  It was simply a stick lying prone on the ground about 10 feet away where the wind had blown the slender severed trunk.

And a young but rangy tuliptree fell down.  And a sweetgum was lost. 

None of this is a tragedy.  It doesn't compare to the devastation of tornadoes that blow down people's homes and whole towns.  This isn't even close.  It's just a mistake --- an oops in the garden that nature caused.

But I will miss these trees. 

 

33 comments:

  1. Laurrie, I understand your loss, and I know that, as with human members of the family, you can't just replace these trees with new ones because you cannot duplicate what the lost ones had become with time, nurturing, shaping.

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    1. Lee, Thanks. The hardest part was that these were among the FIRST TREES I ever planted! Watching them grow was miraculous. Now I know I can plant more, but you're right, new ones won't replace the magical first attempts at tree growing.

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    2. True, true, but chances are slim you'd have such losses again. So, I'm betting you'll take the odds and plant with abandon. Question is whether you'll plant those same types again.

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  2. I, too, understand your loss. We escaped the damage from that storm but I often suffer damage from deer, sometimes losing a years worth of growth or more in one night time to those hungry nibblers. For an impatient gardener like myself, it's really a bummer!

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    1. Julie, deer damage to perennials is one thing --- they will regrow and bounce back in a season, mostly. But extensive damage to woody plants, and especially trees, sets them back for a long time, or leaves them oddly shaped forever. So discouraging.

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  3. I'm so sorry,your trees were so beautiful.I really understand your loss,I guess every gardener does.Losing a plant,especially a tree which is a long term project,a friend,full of life and beauty,it's heartbreaking.

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    1. Tiina, Thanks for the words of understanding. It is heartbreaking --- not compared to real tragedy certainly, but it's still hard to lose these long term plants.

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  4. Ahh, yes, Laurrie. Mother Nature consistently reminds us she is in charge and the ultimate landscape designer.

    As you well know, the only thing to do now is try again.

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    1. Joene, I will definitely try again, but have decided not to replant exactly the same trees, and not in the same spots. New designs, new plants, new locations, I'll move on!

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  5. Laurrie, I taught a garden design class last week and every one of the 15 students had lost at least one tree in the October storm. The trees you lost were beautiful, my favorites are the redbuds. There is something so special about those trees. I need to add some trees to my garden this spring and I'm thinking about another redbud...or a hawthorne...or a sourwood...

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    1. Debbie, I lost a Bradford pear and don't miss that. But the cherry and the redbuds are sorely missed. A hawthorne would be delightful . . . I hope you plant one. The sourwood has been an experiment in extreme patience for me : )

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  6. I miss the red bud we lost in a storm last year. Mother nature surely made a mistake.
    I hope you can replace them.

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    1. Gardener on Sherlock, so sad that you lost a redbud too. They are beautiful, but apparently not the strongest tree in a storm.

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  7. I can understand how much you miss these trees, Laurrie, especially since they all seemed to be just coming into their own when Nature played such a cruel joke on you. I often get frustrated when a perennial or shrub I planted doesn't come back the next year, but they can be quickly replaced; not so with trees. I miss the old apple tree and the pussy willow that had grown into a tree, both of which had decayed so badly that winds easily took them down last year. My back yard looks so empty now, but I know I would be much sadder to lose the lovely flowering trees you lost.

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    1. Rose, I know so many gardeners have lost treasured trees, and they do make a real empty space when they are gone.

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  8. That redbud tree outside your guest room was absolutely gorgeous. You must plant another one! This is the second post I've read today that showed a redbud in bloom. I know nothing about them, but I'm now going to look them up and see if I can grow one too.

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    1. Lyn, I don't think I will replant the redbud. The space outside the guest room window is narrow, and the redbud would have eventually gotten too big. My typical planting mistake.. I never allow for the mature size of the trees I plant! They are beautiful trees, though, so maybe if I can find a bigger spot (ha! where?) I may replant one.

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  9. I become attached to the plants in my garden. If I lost that many trees, I'd be upset, too. Are you going to replace any of them with the same tree?

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    1. Tammy, I don't think I'll replant in the same spots. Other plants have grown in since I originally planted the trees, and the spaces the redbud and cherry occupied are crowded now. And I simply don't have any more room elsewhere to try these same specimen trees again!

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  10. It is very sad to lose trees in stormy weather. It is just nature doing its thing, but also the hybridization of our trees. Too many are grown for full floriferous canopies at the expense of week crotch trunks. Many are poorly sited, like many redbuds. Others are planted to compete with more vigorously rooting companions, not building a good foundation for themselves....and the list goes on and on. But young trees take a while to get established and early care is really important. But, nothing could help the abuse and damage your trees took in that wind. It is sad, but just a way for the strongest to survive.

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    1. Donna, It was a crazy snow storm, and what struck me was what nature took down. My delicate ornamentals went, but a lot of mature trees in the woods were devastated too. Really odd things, like some oaks (oaks!!) lost big branches because the snow stuck to their big leaves. The black gums survived nicely, and anything else with small leaves or that had already lost its leaves was unhurt.

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  11. Ah that is sad. Those were lovely trees. There used to be a gorgeous OK redbud at the JC Raulston Arboretum. (Nothing happened to it, they just cut it down. Too pretty I guess.)

    Mother Nature does like to remind us that she is the ultimate decider.

    I should join this meme sometime since a lot of my gardening method is oops gardening. :)

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    1. Sweetbay, the Oklahoma redbud really was nice, I would have liked to see a mature specimen at the arboretum. So sad they took it down!

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  12. Oh, it's heartbreaking what nature will do. I'm sorry you lost so many trees in the storm. Will you replace the redbud outside the guest room? It really made a statement! Interesting how long it takes spring to march north...our redbuds bloom in February. I always love reading blogs in cooler climates in the fall (my favorite season) to see your autumnal changes as we lag so far behind.

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    1. Cat, I can't imagine the glory of redbuds blooming in February!! Oh my. I am not replacing the tree in front of the guest room window. I know now that the Oklahoma redbud would have grown too big for the narrow strip there, so I won't replant in that spot. Not sure what to put there, though . . . .

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  13. That is so very sad to lose some beautiful trees. I have a forest pansy redbud, and I love it. I would miss it terribly if I lost it. Last year, I did lose two autumn olives--trees I loved and the birds loved. I have tried to accept it as best as I can. I hope no more storms come your way.

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    1. Sage Butterfly, thanks for the empathy and your hopes for no more storms! We will get bad weather and we all will lose plants we love, but I hope not to see several feet of wet snow in October ever again.

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  14. The view out your window of the redbud was amazing. It is so important to place plants this way. I always tell people to go in and look out the window and imagine what they would like to see there. Any chance you could plant another one farther away from the house but still see it from that window?

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    1. Diane, I really will miss the view of the redbud out the window. It is great advice to design a garden from inside, since we spend so much of our time indoors looking out at the garden. I don't think I'll replant the redbud. Still mulling over ideas.

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  15. OUCH!! Those are some pretty hard trees to lose. Sad really, especially the Red Bud by the window that looked like a very nice tree.
    Nature has a way of changing our plans for us I guess.

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    1. Forest Keeper, it does seem like the storm deliberately took out the loveliest trees. How I miss them. But, onward. New plantings, changed designs.... a chance to experiment with other trees now.

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  16. So sad to read this post. These were beautiful trees. Lovely photos.

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    1. Daisy, these really were a loss. Not just pretty trees, but trees that were finally (finally!) getting some size and showing me what they could look like. Sigh.

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