The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Going, Going, Gone

The Mighty Oak Tree on High Street

The View of the Crown of the Oak Tree From My Garden

Getting Ready to Remove the Oak

About Two Thirds of the Branches Have Been Removed

An Enormous Crane Carries the Huge Branches to the Ground

The Arborist Gets Ready to Attach the Cable to a Branch

The Main Trunk

Another Look at the Main Trunk

A Stump 64 inches in Diameter

Elephantine Logs

The Stump

The New Appearance of the House

The Large Oak in My Yard

The Small Oak in My Yard

I am not ordinarily a tree hugger, especially since we moved to New England. Turn your back on a field for 10 years and you have a science experiement illustrating the finer points of forest succession. At the turn of last century, something like 20% of New Hampshire was deforested. Today approximately 80% of the state is again woodland. Trees want to grow here. That said, there are some trees that I feel are sacred. The mammoth red oak, Quercus rubra, three houses down from our house on High Street was one such tree.

I became acquainted with this fine tree when I was searching for our first house in 1989. There were three houses in the neighborhood that I looked at. The old cape at the corner of High Street and Vine Street was very sweet but seemed a little small for our needs but I couldn't help but admire the enormous oak tree on the front yard. We ended up buying a house up the street and I was fortunate enough to pass this glorious tree on my walk to work each morning.

Early one morning last spring, I was driving to go on a hike and I couldn't help but notice that an enormous branch had broken off the tree and crushed the second floor of the house. Fortunately, the owners sleep on the ground floor and no one was hurt. During the summer, the entire second floor was replaced by the insurance company. Their only caveat was that the tree had to be removed in order for the owners to remain insured.

Last week, the Arborists arrived and methodically removed the tree, branch by branch, with a pair of cranes. I had always figured the tree was ancient but the aborist determined that it was about 150 years old. The remaining stump was 64 inches in diameter. There are two red oak trees in my garden. One is about 90 years old the other is probably about 45 years old. I take comfort in believing that my trees are the progeny of that magnificent tree down the street.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pruning Inspiration From Pack Monadnock

Gnarly Oaks at the Peak of Pack Monadnock

The silhouette of Oaks in the Direction of Mount Washinghton

A Crabapple tree that was on the Property when we bought the House in 1989

Magnolia sieboldii Artfully (I hope) pruned

Limbed up Cornus officinalis

I hike Pack Monadnock, a mountain near my house, about 5 or 6 mornings a week. It is a 1.3 mile march up the road to the peak of the mountain--I think of it as my personal outdoor stair-master. At the top of Pack, there is a group of oak trees that, due to the extreme weather, have never gotten a chance to reach their mature size and have developed a gnarly shape over the years. I love the silhouette they produce in the sky. I often refer to my memory of them as I am pruning the small trees in my garden. Now that the leaves have fallen off the trees, it is an excellent time to evaluate the lines of the trunks and make some adjustments in order to make the branches on the trees just a little more intriguing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanks for Another Great Season

The volunteer gardeners had their last work day a couple weeks ago and I wanted to thank them for all their efforts this gardening season. This was our 12th year working together in the parks of Peterborough.

Back row: Nancy O'Neill, Laura Trowbridge, Mollie Amies, yours truly and Terry Reeves. Front row: Maude Odgers, Molly Beyer, Jeannie Connolly and Bob Wilder, town employee. Missing from the picture: Susannah Parish, Amy Manny and Sarah Bay.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tovah's Tulip Tip

I finally plated all the tulips this week after our Halloween snow. Unfortunately, I have a vole and chipmunk problem. This year, I took some advice from Tovah Martin's blog PlantsWise about how to protect bulbs from rodents. She recommends, "my secret is to sandwich the bulbs between crushed oyster shells (you can buy them in large bags from the farm feed store as “chicken grit”). It works." So I went to Agway and got some chicken grit and gave it a try. If Tovah's tip is successful, I'm going to add some chicken grit to the hole when I plant or divide herbaceous plants that the rodents munch on. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. You learn something new every day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Four Season Garden

For those of you in the Monadnock Region, I will be giving a talk, sponsored by the Peterborough Garden Club, called The Four Season Garden on Monday, November 14 at 10 am at the Peterborough Historical Society. The presentation is free to the public and all are welcome.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Acer triflorum at the Arnold

Here are a trio of Acer triflorum trees in their blazing fall foliage glory at the Hunnewell Visitor Center at the entrance to the Arnold Arboretum. When I was searching for trees to plant in my garden, I thought it would be a good idea to see what trees and shrubs were chosen by the Arnold Arboretum to be placed in such a prominent location on their grounds. I selected Acer triflorum after seeing these trees a dozen years ago. It is a decision I don't regret.


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