Saturday, February 6, 2010


When we moved into our home we were delighted by the two newish trees in the front yard. The lady who owned the home spoke of selecting and planting them herself. She said they were Colorado Weeping something or another. I have never been able to find the name of the trees, but I can tell you, they grew super fast, and have been plagued by multiple problems. Here is a picture of the trees last summer, the one closest to the sidewalk, in the background of this picture, was the bigger problem.

The tree had was diseased. Whole branches would dry up and fall off. In the middle of a normal sunny summer day one of those huge branches fell! We are so lucky no one was around; a neighbor was walking across the street and said she heard crackling, though it was me putzing in the garden, and then looked to see whole branch come crashing down. The other, even heavier branches that could fall next would have crashed through our home, and possibly the kid's bedrooms.
The tree also had some white powdery moldy type substance in the region of the dying branches, as well as strange mushroom shapes growing out of it. More than half of the tree was entangled in the power lines.

This winter we have had a couple huge ice and snow storms, and the branches became extremely heavy and looked like this:

Last fall we received a letter from the energy company stating they would be coming to our area to trim trees off the lines soon. We waited, and waited, and autumn came and went with no tree trimming trucks in our yard. I finally saw an energy truck on our block in January. The driver was making notes of something, likely from a project they were working on around the block. I walked over and pointed out the trees to him. We had a huge storm forecasted in a day or two, and I told him how the trees looked so far this winter. He agreed, made a note, and promised someone would come out soon. They came, a few days later, and I went out front to ask if they were there to trim the tree. "Yes," they said, but not for a few more days. I asked them to take the whole tree down.
I thought they would say no, they couldn't. Instead, they excitedly said, "Really?! We wanted to, but were afraid to ask. Homeowners usually don't want their trees taken down!"
I explained all the problems with the tree, and they agreed to cut it as low to the ground as they could, and to put a chemical on to kill the remaining stump and roots. Amen! My family and I could not afford a tree trimmer, let alone a stump grinder. And this willow tree would inevitably try to keep growing, as we had seen with each branch we had cut off in the past. Success!

The unexpected, and delightful result is that you can really see our whole house! And I now have a sunny front yard. A area that was once confined to just hostas and impatiens, due to the deep, deep, shade provided by the tree, is now a full sun locale. I already pinched pennies and found a white arched arbor on clearance, and have been sketching up plans to spend every dime of birthday cashola on some roses and clematis for the front yard arbor walkway. That being my entire budget, the other plants will have to come from seed and my existing garden. I have spent hours browsing pictures of last seasons garden pictures for crowded and showy plants that might like a division, or full-on upheaveal and move to the front yard garden, coming soon!

Here is our home today!

I plan on repainting the front windows white, and even taking the black paint off the railings of the front porch, and painting them either white or a nice neutral brown or green color. I think we need a new porch light sometime soon, and a new or freshly painted screen/front door also. The arbor will be in placed the middle of the walkway that leads from the sidewalk to the house, and it will be cloaked with a minimum of two hardy climbing roses, and two clematis. I am hoping to find, nice large Perle d'Azur, and Cardinal Wyzinski clematis, and am I undecided on the specific roses.
So far, I know of several plants in the garden I will be moving/dividing to the front, including one of my smokebushes, tiki torch echinacea, marmalade heuchera, hens and chicks, sedum angelina, centranthus ruber, obedient plant, moss phlox, fried banana hostas, iris, erynigium, black eyed susan, and lady's mantle. I may try and move my Catalina rose, if it makes it through this winter. Seeds will make purple alyssum a key part of this walkway, too.

The stump, which will likely persist for some time, will hopefully be topped with a whiskey barrel for now. I plan on putting all my red flowered canna bulbs in the whiskey barrel, and planting around the stump with alyssum and other perennials. I would like to incorporate my giant Red Banana container plant into the front yard as well.

I also plan on adding a large specimen of "Etoille Violette" clematis, pictured below, on the front porch, near the base of the railing on the left side. The pictures EV clematis are take from the back of our home, on the side of our garage. This clematis has been a favorite of mine for 6 years now.
Nevermind the excitment that my front porch hanging baskets can finally include something beyond fushchias and impatiens!!!

I am having so much fun planning a front yard garden. I picked up a half-dozen books from the library to help me visualize. I have been sketching constantly. I'll share more as the ideas come to me!


CiNdEe said...

Now that will be a huge difference for you in what you can plant! I understand the willow thing. We have a huge one in the back yard. I hate it but then I love it in the hot summers we have here! Otherwise we would fry like chicken. I don't think you have to worry about that there(-:
I would like a tree trimmer to come trim it up though but of course that costs to much so I am kinda stuck.
You have the most beautiful flowers I am sure everything is going to be totally awesome!!! I can't wait to see it all!!!!

Jamie said...

Thank you Cindy.

I understand the love/hate relationship with the willow. The one they took down was part of a pair, and we kept it's sibling. I love the shade it provides! We have surprisingly hot summers here, with the worst humidity you could imagine. The previous owners before the the last who planted these trees removed all vegetation from the lot, so a mature tree is much coveted! :)

I can barely wait for spring!