Garden Adversity

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cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

No sign of bird damage here either in spite of tons of birds- though I do wonder about the grouse that repeatedly visited one of our apple trees this fall-- presumably eating off the winter buds... will it make more? Between that and the moose, those fruit trees don't have an easy time of it- and to think a couple of years ago I had to prune them back...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Sometimes stuff just happens. In the corner of my yard, the anchor to my woodland garden, is an enormous Sugar Maple tree.  It has been on the decline in recent years, with some limbs dying off, and posing a definite "under tree hazard" one windy days when I worry that sizeable dead limbs will come crashing down.  In fact, with limb and trunk decay, sometimes limbs just decide to fall without any wind provocation.

But, I was not prepared for what happened this past Saturday, when various isolated weather fronts were passing through, announcing themselves with sudden bursts of refreshing gusty air.  My wife and I on our deck, were witness to the cornerstone goliath tree simply snapping off near the base during one of gusts, with a thundering crash as it fell in a direction away from our house.  But due to its size and branching, large limbs crashed down into my garden, snapping two ornamental Magnolias and a Japanense maple off at the base, and a host of choice woodland plants now concealed by a monstrously large trunk and hefty limbs.  

 

The real damage will come when I call the town highway department to cut up and remove the tree.  This work is dangerous (removing such huge tree trunks and limbs), and the trampling by the tree cutters will surely be devastating in a garden full of woodland treasures.  Directly underneath the gigantic fallen trunk and limbs, is Cyprepedium reginae, C. parviflorum, Arisaema sikokianum, Iris koreana, Jeffersonia dubia Korean Form, Kirengeshoma koreana, and dozens of other choice items. I have a variety of Cimicifuga cultivars in this area, most have been squashed and snapped off, already cleaned up what I could and disposed of the damage.  It seems in a year, when I have lost much of my Allium garden due to invading grasses last year when I took on a job after long unemployment, and having to work many weekends so little time to spend in the yard and garden, this is just another step backwards in the whole gardening scheme of things.

This week is impossibly busy, with lots of travel; I'll have to try and not think too much about what the garden will look like after a crew of men come in to cut up and remove the mega-trunk and trample my garden mightily... I'll be traveling, I'll just have to wait and see what it looks like when I get back.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Oh no!  So sorry, Mark!  How devastating to one who loves plants and gardening! 
It is little comfort, I know, but thank heaven it fell away from the house, at least.  We don't even have trees anywhere near that girth and height around here...
Well, I hope the clean up goes as well as possible, and that the resilience and "life wish" of plants come through for you, so that the perennials, at least, are able to recover through the season.  :'(

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Thanks Lori.  I think rhizomatous perennials like Epimedium will make it okay, even if herbaceously damaged this year, but with things like two diffferent Cypripediums, they rest with an easily damaged "nose" and I fear I shall lose them if squashed.  The few "woodies" might sprout from the base, but the beautiful Acer japonicum 'Ukigomo' which snapped off at the base about 2" above soil line might resprout, but as most Japanese maples are grafts, I won't get the true plant.  

I was just about to show my enlarged circle around this beautiful Japanese maple, planted with one flat of about 120 Jeffersonia dubia seedlings, but as the maple is no more, I either just have to leave the "Jeffersonia ring", or if I want to replant a tree, remove all of the Jeffersonia to replant with a new ornamental tree.  Not sure what to do yet.

My younger daughter always worried about this tree hitting the house, but it was far enough away it was not a threat to the house, but was very much a threat to anyone working beneath the tree canopy.  I'm glad it came down.  But a huge long arching branch sticking out to the right remains, defying gravity, another danger,. only a matter of time before it falls, I will request the highway department to cut it down; it leans into my yard and is posed to squash a row of hemlocks I planted, and a variety of choice perennials growing below.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Mark - what drama! I'm sure Lori is right; plants are always more resilient than we can imagine. We had a huge willow in our garden, partly weakened way back in the 1987 'hurricane', but which grew away strongly. Come another gale in the winter of the '90's and the whole thing came down as I was working in the nursery near by. Very dramatic. There weren't all the treasures under the tree that you have, but the end result has been a vast improvement to the garden. Mind you I cut it down myself and very slowly.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

That's quite a blow, Mark.  A gardener's life is certainly never status quo, even without such devastation.  With that severe summer drought, the ice storm and now this, you have sure been having a run of bad luck.  At Mom and Dad's place, we would just leave a 12ft stump there for the woodpeckers.  There would be a lot less trampling of your garden ...
But seeing as how you are confined to that one basement window or indoor gardening, I guess that's out the window, too.  (And, not sure what the neighbors would think.) ;)

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I am sorry to learn about all your losses, Mark; what a blow! I'm glad however you weren't under the tree trying to protect your gems!
In stead of digging up all your newly planted Jeffersonia seedlings to plant a new tree, can't you just plant a maple (or other) seedling? I sow seeds of maple (and other ornamental trees) and get small seedlings, but they grow fast enough and are easily planted without digging too much.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

What a tragedy, Mark.  I know how you must feel.  I had two old apple trees here in the yard that, through the years we have lived here, have given us a lot of pleasure - baby squirrels hatching in spring (or whenever), birds, my son's tree "fort" (on which I used to lie with binnoculars to gaze on the antics of baby squirrels getting to know their new world).  One came down during a storm not long after my husband died and the other was down (old age and a storm I guess) on my return from a visit with the late Fred Case in Saginaw.  Like your tree, they both fell away from the house but there was considerable cleanup from kind neighbors and co-workers at the University, one of whom gave me a Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree) to plant in its stead.  This, in turn, has become very tall and spreading.  The other original apple tree was replaced for a Honey Locust I thought was a red Robinia and have been meaning to cut down but haven't - it may become a problem.  Hmm...  But these days I am very careful with trees although they are hard to resist like Pterostyrax hispida, a "small" oak, Cornus floridus and now I have a tiny seedling of a Copper Beech - and me with neighbors' birch, apple and a Norway Maple already encroaching on all sides, plus a Little Leaf Linden out front that needs constant pruning.  I'm just too old for all that sort of thing.  Anyway, take heart Mark - the Phoenix will arise from the ashes.  Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Mark-I read in the woodlanders thread that you got most (all?) of the tree clean-up done by a sensitive arborist with minimal damage- good to hear! What about the loss of shade, will that be a problem for the remaining plants?

Fran- how big does the little leaf linden (Tilia cordata?) get for you? we have one here, and I really like it, but its not super far from the house and the last thing I want is more shade! So far (my mom doesn't remember when it was planted, maybe 15 years ago or so) and its around 15-20 feet with several trunks, but does not seem to be getting taller in any hurry.... I'd be thrilled if it stayed this size...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

GRRRR, gardening can be frustrating. I have 7 patches on the beautiful white Crocus malyi. Two 5-yr old patches are from inplace scratch-and-sow technique, sown as soon as seed ripens in June/July. Each had ~30 buds ready to pop, holding off the last couple sunny but cold days, today is warmer and I went out to photograph. I was so excited, because a few had blue color to bud tips, others had blue petals; I was aching to see the potential hybrids. Today, every one of approx. 60 buds was eaten, not one left. Several of the other patches of C. malyi (named forms) were about half eaten. Here's a close-up photo showing some eaten stubs, the petal "rings" visible. Notice in the upper left, the long arrow pointing to one that has a blue ring of chomped petals.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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