Lemons to Lemonade
As I mentioned before, when we moved here, our yard was pretty much a blank slate. There were a few attempts at landscaping, including a small weeping cherry tree planted on the left side of our house, which was probably put in right before the house was listed for sale. For a “beginning” photo of this little tree, see Beginning at the Beginning. We didn’t know what we were dealing with and so didn’t remove or transplant this little tree. In a very short amount of time, comparatively speaking, it grew to be a pretty large tree. But it added so much to our landscape that we just couldn’t take it down. When it was in bloom it was charming. When leaves developed, the branches drooped almost to the ground, forming a curtain of privacy that we could sit behind in the evenings and enjoy our world. By the time we noticed that it had black knot, a serious disease affecting plum and cherry trees, it was too late to save it.
Although this tree only bloomed for maybe two weeks in the spring, it just had an enormous presence in our yard. The first photo more accurately portrays the color; the second photo more accurately portrays the size. We planted my favorite hostas, Sum and Substance, in the shade of this tree and they grew to be very large—they were quite happy. On the backside of the tree, along side our house, we planted these pretty blue lacecap hydrangeas, which thrived in the shade.
We procrastinated as long as we could, but came the day when we finally had to take the tree down. As you can see, the trunk was massive. I was developing my faerie gardens at the time and so asked if my hubby would leave the trunk up so I could put a tree faerie garden in it. I even went so far as to buy a larger size faerie house in anticipation of this project. My husband is very good at installing watering systems, so I knew if we put pots on the trunk, he could get water to them. In the first photo he is putting in a rebar to hold one of the baskets that we used in the tree. Altogether, I think we used five or six baskets. In the second photo you can see my hostas; at this point they were still doing well.
These three photos show the progression of the plants in the tree. I had intended to situate faerie houses and faeries in among the flowers, but the flowers just kept growing, and were so pretty that there was really no need to add anything. As I recall, the flowers were a mixture of two shades of pink wave petunias, lantana, marigolds and red and yellow celosia. The trailers were vinca major, silver fall dichondra and probably others that I don’t remember anymore. By the end of the season, as far as we were concerned, this tree ( a sort of gigantic planter) really added the “wow” factor to our yard. For one season anyway, we turned tragedy into triumph.
Final thought: Sometimes unavoidable situations happen when gardening. It’s easy to give in and bemoan the situation. But every once in awhile, with a little creative thinking, we can turn a “lemon into lemonade.”