The missing trees and the west yard garden on Poplar Street

This post is really more for the neighborhood than our guests, though return visitors may be interested at the change in the landscape.

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In the past six months  eleven huge trees have gone missing on the corner.

I hear some neighbors are angry at us about this.

(My first response is sadly a little sharp:  Weren’t you listening in the past four years?

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(Signs tied to trees for a year and a half as they slowly finished dying from growth retardant applied by Avista to keep them from having to trim so much.  Not that they didn’t do a lot of that too.)

 

As much as I resent (a mild word) our treatment by Avista over the years as we fought with them about killing our internal trees with growth retardant–and probably thousands more over the city–sometimes you have to move on.

Truth is that hundreds of trees were planted a hundred years ago, and if they all die out at the same time we are left with–no trees.  Sometimes you have to plant a new generation, and that is what we and the City–department of Urban Forestry–are doing here on the corner.

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The picture above shows the two new Bur Oak (in fall foliage) that the city helped to plant in the yard last October–well away from the power lines.

The one below in the spring, not yet leafed out but with our new gazebo and straw bale garden showing to the right.

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We lost the two internal trees and four parking strip trees in March,  a few weeks ago.

The parking strip group on Poplar were planted directly under the lines and really had no future.

This is all annoying the neighbors and walkers who enjoy the corner and feel some ownership of this historic and beautiful part of the city.

But beautiful or not–and it is–please, please, please fellow Tree Huggers, LOOK above when you plant a tree destined to grow to more than 15 feet tall.  It may be cute now in baby tree form, but a Norway Maple wants to be a big tree and it is a death sentence to put it directly under the wires.

We have plans for three new smaller trees in the parking strip: Japanese Lilac. They mature at about 20 feet, bloom a bit later than a standard lilac shrub around here.  More tree like than shrub like.  I think they will be pretty.

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And they are.

And then, because there is really only room for one large tree in the central yard–again keeping well away from the power lines, we’ve opted for a Dawn Redwood.

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According to The Arbor Day Foundation:

“An ancient tree that knew the dinosaurs, but is well-suited to modern landscape plantings. Likes full sun, is easily transplanted. Deciduous. Prefers moist, deep, well-drained soils. Fast growing. Grows to 70′ to 100′, 25′ spread. (zones 5-8)”

Also known to live to 1,000 years.  (Take THAT Avista!)

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It may take a while to get to this point.

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One thing I have learned about trees in the long process of watching ours die is they do not do anything in a hurry.

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The yard, as you might imagine, has taken quite a beating through all this.  And there will be a lot of change over the next years as the roots of the old trees decay and things shift and settle.

So we had an idea–at least for the Poplar side of the house.  Plant a kitchen garden  Amid all the Poplar (still bravely standing!) roots?  Yup.  A straw bale garden in an enclosed kitchen garden sitting area.   We want something see-through,not a stockade.

 

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Non visually obstructive fence, still grass, and a raised garden of straw bales growing vegetables and flowers.

You can see the start of this behind the little redwood.

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A straw bale garden is a neat idea–it enables you to have a temporary raised bed in almost any location with sun–even pavement.

Terese and I are going to teach a little class on it down at the Blue Moon Nursery and Garden Center in a couple of weeks.

May 24th, a Saturday at 11 AM is the next one.

http://www.bluemoonplants.com/

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Their tag line: Nice Plants. Nice People.   Really, it is true.  Go get stuff from them rather than the big box places.

 

If you want to read more about this, this fellow wrote a book–my copy is down at Blue Moon.

http://strawbalegardens.com/

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Anyway, neighbors, don’t panic, we do have a plan.

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In fact we’ve been working on it for a while now.

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Cress and chard awaiting transplant. . . .

I’ll give you a post about it next.  We are getting lots of staring. . .

 

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