Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lessons Learned, Part 3

After we removed the first spruce, we had more room for our hosta collection, which by 2005 had grown to more than 500 individual cultivars.  So, for a year or two, we left the front garden alone while we worked on the quarry garden in the backyard.

In late 2005 we were asked to open our garden for the 2006 Green Bay Botanical Garden Walk, which is a big deal in these parts.
Once again, we did a stroll through the gardens and came to the realization that the second spruce really should come down, too.  This was not a hasty thought by any means, and the lack of shade provided by the long-gone elm and spruce trees meant the removal of around 200 mature hostas to another bed, which I'll probably write about later. 

Early April 2006 finds 20 yr. old Joel up in a tree with the Stihl chainsaw and me on the ground 'helping'.  In reality, there's not a lot the person can do on the ground other than duck from falling limbs and hold the ladder for the poor guy up in the tree and nag in a motherly, concerned voice, "Now, Joel, you be careful!" which always helps, right?  (However, my vast talents are put to good use when it's time to pick up the brush.) 

As you can see, once again, we began sawing this tree down late in the day, but we weren't able to finish it that night because a strong southwesterly wind came up and we felt that even with a cable hooked to the tractor there might still be a risk of hitting the house.  So the tree stood like this overnight.

The next day dawned sunny and much less breezy, so it was time.   I was in my spot on the 574 way out on the road with the cable.  We took a deep breath and Carl fired up the chain saw.

 The most nerve-wracking part of sawing down trees is the final cut.  I don't breathe too well until the tree is on the ground, and everyone is safe and sound.

Here goes:

After every tree we saw down, there's a moment of panic; did we do the right thing?  The house is certainly much more exposed now, oh dear.  No matter how much you think you are prepared for how it will look when a large tree is removed, reality is something else again.  But, you can't put them back up- how's that old saying go?  Measure twice, cut once?  Good idea.

We removed all of the hostas from the bed in front of the house, which took a good two weeks.   There had been a low stone wall around the spruce trees which we put on pallets and hauled out back.  Then we decided to try to add some height to our flat landscape by hauling in a few loads of dirt.  We had a few stones leftover from the quarry garden which we brought in with the tractor, but we were out of the really big ones I wanted at this time.
A few days later and this is the way it looked:
The work progressed on, but we had a very wet spring that year, and it was slow going.  Our youngest son, David, has always had an interest in sedums and rock garden plants.  Since the front of the house was in full sun now, he took me up on the offer to install a tufa stone sedum/succulent bed right in front of the house.  In the following pictures David is seen busily planting.

By June 2006, the garden had started to fill in a little bit:

And by July (and the garden walk) it was looking pretty good:
Here is the view from the road, July 2006:

The garden walk went well that year, around 700 people toured the garden,  but it was SO hot, we actually were over 100 degrees and had one of the driest summers we could remember in years. 

The front garden remained the same as it is now until the fall of 2009, when we removed the third spruce.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

LC said...

Boy- you've been busy writing posts lately! I'm enjoying learning your history! L