Life’s A Garden of Change

In the midst of May’s flowers, hail storms, wind, and sun, garden life slowly awoke and decided to chance sending out new tender green shoots and leaves. It’s a late spring for many things; the alder trees didn’t leave out till the beginning of the month, along with the vine maples and birches. Our sweet gum tree is just now unfurling its leaves for summer growth. Other plants have been right on schedule; azaleas, rhododendrons and ferns seem just happy with the spring snow storms and hot days in May.

These catastrophic weather events can have a profound change on our gardens. Some are immediate; we now have light where there was no light, we lose cover for a shade garden, or we may have a tree with significant branch damage. It’s important to embrace change as a gardener, to look at these times as a chance to appreciate what we’ve lost, examine what direction we want the garden to go in now.

Large trees that have lost large limbs in the storms this year may survive for a long time; there is a strong potential for disease and rot to get into the area and eventually kill the tree. If the limb break goes into the tree trunk there is a high probability that at some point the tree will either die from disease or break at that spot as it gets bigger and has more weight on the break. It will probably be years but now is a good time to decide if you want to replant a new younger tree under the big one to take its place eventually or bite the “sawdust” and take out the tree now, planting a new tree that can quickly fill the spot. Maybe the view of the neighbor’s garage isn’t the best but perhaps we can filter it with a deciduous tree that allows much needed light in the winter while blocking the view in the summer when there is more activity outside. Many times home owners feel the need to put in the fastest growing largest evergreen tree to block a view, where in reality a large shrub might just do as well. The top of the roof might not be blocked but the window will be.

Read on our article for suggestions on view blocking inside the newsletter. In the meantime, embrace the change and enjoy your “new landscape”!