Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saying Goodbye to a Tree

Last Sunday started out like many Sunday mornings around here, but it did not end like a typical Sunday night. Around 3:00pm, we had a terrible storm--one of those pop up kind that sneak up on you. About the time I thought it was over, the wind starting whipping around violently. That whipping became "wind shears" or "micro burst" that came through our backyard and sliced right through our Bradford Pear. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the tree fell over and landed on our roof.












I knew when I looked out, that even though some of the tree was still standing, my greatest fear for the yard was now upon us--the tree would need to be removed. An arborist came out the next morning, and confirmed what we already knew. The tree would have to be cut down. Most of you know that this Bradford was the focal point of my backyard. I knew it had to be done, but I was just devastated.
The tree was cut down, and the branches placed on the driveway until they could be removed.
And I say "back
yard," but really it's more of a side yard. We are a corner house on a cul-de-sac, there is no alley between us and the house behind us, so the yard is really the size of a side yard. Plus, we live in a hilly neighborhood, so the house behind us is also higher than our house. That wonderful old tree gave us privacy; provided shade from the west sun that shines in back; and was home to many little bird friends of mine. Walking into this little space was like walking into a secret garden for me. It was where I spent most of my time--it was where I did most of my gardening. We knew Bradford Pears were not recommended trees anymore, but they were when we planted this one 25 years ago. I felt like I had lost a good friend, and I guess I had. I could not even walk out in the backyard this past week. I knew it would not be the same yard I knew and loved. I couldn't sit in the swing and read under the shade of my good friend anymore. I couldn't watch the birds feed every morning and evening from the feeders hanging from the branches. I was heartbroken.
So this is what we are left with. A tiny yard that need something to guard and protect it. I finally walked outside Friday evening after the sun went down. I love that time of day--somewhere between dusk and dark. My sweet husband, bless his heart, had been watering like crazy trying to keep my flowers from dying. And you know, under the circumstances, everything looked pretty good. I picked up one little pot-it was one of Mother's forget-me-nots that I knew would be dead, and under all the dried out leaves, I saw a tiny bloom! My heart was so warmed by that one flower and my husbands efforts on trying to keep the garden alive-I decided I must move on.
We will get another tree--it will not be too big, but perhaps will help block the hot west sun a little. I will lose quite a few plants due to the sun, but I will use the opportunity to find new plants I have not been able to grow before. I am sad beyond words, but I am trying to create a new plan in my mind and explore new possibilities for this small space. Gardening will be more challenging now, as I will not be able to "play outside" in the late afternoons after work. I have tried to think of good things that will come out of this...and like I told hubby..I'll plant pansies in the fall. They like the sun...they will take me into winter and a new year.
"Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest, but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another." John Muir

27 comments:

tina said...

You said it so well. Even though it was bound to happen we are always sad when any tree comes down. Glad no one was hurt and it is cleaned up now. Couldn't imagine! Now you get to have fun choosing a replacement tree. I wish I could recommend one but I am not familiar with Texas peculiarities so I'll keep mum on the subject. But you might like an evergreen? Since the direction it blocks is west? It would give you privacy all year long. A good thing. Can't wait to see what you put in there and kudos to the husband for watering your plants. You might build a shade house to protect them for now?

Meadowview Thymes said...

Tina, we are looking at (and pretty decided on) a Chinese Pistachio. We looked at them yesterday. Everything I read is very positive. We need to find a male if we can, as the berries although pretty from a female, are very messy (so I read). We have the pond so close, we don't want a tree that drops things (other than leaves) if we can help it. Plus, there is not room for a large tree like a Live Oak. This would be somewhat easier I guess if it were not the dog days of summer when you really can't plant much. It's really hard looking out the kitchen window and not seeing that tree!

JenningsJunk said...

I knew this post was coming and it breaks my heart all over again. Now I'm looking forward to seeing what a Chinese Pistachio tree looks like :-) and all the creative and fresh ways you're going to meet this new challenge.

Meadowview Thymes said...

You are so sweet JJ. Last week was a tough one for me--and you all were so caring.
The Pistachio is pretty once it is grown up. Unfortunately we will be getting a young tree, and they are not the best looking at that time. I'll hopefully come up with something that will work to go along with the new tree.

Brenda said...

How about a gazebo in this spot? You could build one from wood. Or just do like I did and purchase one for $300-$400 from Target. Would give you some shade...
Brenda

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

So sorry about the loss. I strongly suggest the chinese pistachio. I think you will be really happy with it.

Lola said...

I am so sorry that you lost your tree. It is hard to lose one as most of it is for shade & privacy.
I have a huge dbl trunk oak that I fear is dying. I will be heart broken when it goes as it is the only shade I have. I just had it trimmed & it continues to drop dead limbs.
Good luck with the new pretty.

SUNRISE IN SACHSE said...

I was hoping that you would blog the pictures so I could better understand what happened. I knew you would be devestated because of all the time you care for your yard, and it show's! New life in a yard is good....now you can watch your (soon to be here) grandbaby and the baby tree grow up together!!! My favorite tree is a Memosa, and I saw for the first time at HD this weekend a chocolate memosa!! can you believe, this tree would definitly be a girls best friend..lol
Take care and see ya soon. SIS

Pam/Digging said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your tree!

You can't keep a good gardener down, though, and I'm sure in a year's time you'll have a lovely new tree, some sun-loving plants, and a new outlook. Maybe you'll find room for some agaves and salvias. Yum!

The Chinese pistache is on the invasive-plant list here in Austin. Perhaps it's not a problem in your part of Texas though? I love cedar elms, myself, for that buttery fall color. Or a Mexican plum might give you the same size and white spring flowers as your beloved Bradford pear. Good luck with the reworking!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Brenda, we have thought of gazebos many times, but we have such drainage problems (even with a french drain) that I'm afraid it would create a dam. And, I love trees so much I really need at least 1 tree--which is all we really have room for.

Thanks Debbi. We are looking at those trees and really like them. I hate looking out and not seeing that bradford--it just kills me!

Oh Lola, I can understand your concern. I think if I had a big backyard with several trees this would not have been so sad. I am trying really hard to get excited about new plantings, but it's not easy!

Hi SIS--I don't think my pictures were very good, but maybe they do show what a loss to the back this tree has been.
Chocolate Mimosa?? YUM!!!!

Thanks Pam. I need to check out the invasive part. I know we are looking at male trees and not females--does that make a difference? The females have berries that although are pretty, I read they are very messy. I'm not sure I want to pull up baby trees all the time! :)

misterreereeder said...

Looking forward to a new era in your yard. Change is hard but I know you will rise to the occassion.

perennialgardener said...

It's always hard to lose such a mature specimen. How about a Crepe Myrtle as a replacement? :)

Meadowview Thymes said...

You said it mr--change is so hard, especially for me for some reason. I'll work on a plan and try--not sure at this point how, but maybe something will come!

Racquel, we don't want anything that would drop berries or flowers in the pond (in spring, the Bradford was a pest). The yard certainly doesn't look the same--I hope I can get use to the new look.

Barbee' said...

We lost our most important tree several years ago, and I have never really gotten over it. I wrote a post about the most important tree, it helped to write about it. I hope this helps you, too. Then a few years ago we had an ice storm that caused too much sun in my developing shade garden. I hope to post about that before too long. Already have it started, but I am so sporadic about writing.

Dawn said...

Oh my goodness! Close to crying when I was reading about this! I'm a very big tree hugger almost to a fault, like building a 3200 sq foot house in tees instead of cutting them down! Ugh, so much more work. I wish we could grow more nut trees up here, they are so touchy for us. Can't wait to see what a pistachio looks like.

Susie said...

Linda I felt so sad as I read your words. Sounds did you did lose a good friend.

I guess on the positive note you will be getting a new tree and I think the pistachio is suppose to be a winner.

Msrobin said...

Oh no, what a disappointment! Our Bradford pear is in the easement, so the city actually owns it, but I love it nonetheless. I'm seeing signs of fire blight, and I sure hate to think of losing it. The city would replace it, but with a much smaller version.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Barbee--it did help to write about it, but it took a while before I could. Sounds really silly, but I could not stop crying!

Dawn, thanks for being there with me on the tree hugging. I know all my garden buddies have understood how sad I have been about this. If we had several trees, maybe it would have been easier, but just having that 1 in back...really hard!


It is really sad Susie to look out the kitchen window now. A new tree will help I guess...sigh...

Hi Robin--I think knowing we will get a much smaller tree is part of why I have been so sad. The entire little yard is so different now. It's just not my "secret garden" anymore. (hope your hubby is still doing well) :)

CiNdEe said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know how sad it can be to lose a large shade tree. In time your new tree will grow and give you some shade and in the mean time you can grow some sun loving plants(-: Get a nice big umbrella to put up in the mean time so you can still enjoy your quite time in the yard.
We also have a large tree that will need to come down someday in the near future. It will be a sad day. I really enjoy the shade!

Meadowview Thymes said...

I like shade too Cindee. I will plant sun lovers, but since we get this hot west sun in back, losing this tree has changed my gardening habits a bit. I am already going through my gardening magazines looking for ideas though. Thanks for your good thoughts! :)

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Linda, I'm so sorry to hear you've lost your boon companion tree! I was going to recommend a Grancy Greybeard/Fringe Tree, but they do shed blooms all over the place. When you're done grieving for the old tree, I know you'll find some wonderful new gardening opportunities with the increased sunlight available to your plants!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Hi Cindy. Thanks for the sympathy-I am having a pretty tough time losing this tree.
Yeah, we don't want a messy tree since the pond is so close. The spring was messy with the Bradford blooms. Since we are forced to re-do, we are going to try and stay away from that problem again.

Northern Shade said...

It's a good thing that you are all safe. I know how you feel about the loss of a key tree. I love the privacy, shade, wildlife and protective atmosphere that my trees give. They provide that lovely woodsy setting. I would be very upset if I lost a large one like my willow, which shades a great deal of my yard. I imagine that the shade your tree provided was even more important in your hot location.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Hi Northen Shade--how are you??
Losing this tree was pretty tough. It was the only tree in our tiny backyard--and now the sun is just burning us up. We have another tree in mind, but it will be years before it provides the shade we need. Even if we wanted to pay big bucks for a big, big tree--they couldn't get equipment into the yard to get the tree in. The Bradford was young when first planted. We watched it grow up! I'm not young anymore, I will be really old when this new tree grows up! :)

Annie in Austin said...

Came from Pam's and saw your sad post, Meadowview Thymes. We've had that kind of instant change, too, and know what you mean about the western sun, but the tree that died was in the front, not the back. I planted a whole new sun & drought tolerant area but it is really struggling this summer.

Cindee's idea to use a big umbrella as a temporary tree sounds like fun - especially now that you can get the kind that hang offset on a heavy stand. If my problem area were in back instead of near the sidewalk I might try it!

Best of luck,

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Meadowview Thymes said...

Hi Annie--thanks for your thoughts. I am really having a hard time, still, with the loss of this tree. It has so drastically changed the little yard, and as you said, the west sun is presenting a challenge I was not ready to handle. I love sun flowers, but of course we can't plant anything now. We are just trying to keep things going as much as we can. This has been a tough summer for so many of us. I hope your area gets rain soon--it's on my prayer list! :)
Take care, Linda

Ginger said...

Hello,
I found your blog through Debbi's and will be back. Just had to comment on this post. Our front yard has three 30+ yr old Bradford Pears, and a large oak. Two of the BP's have already split, and one of them has split twice. I know the latter needs to go, but it shades the front of our house, so I can't bear to do it. I totally know how you feel.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing how your new tree looks.