Friday, March 28, 2008

Two Days, a Crew, and a Bulldozer

This is a slice of the (very private) north side of our back yard. Notice how nice and private it is? Our neighbor's shed is on the right. Notice how the shed, shrubs, weeping branches, and massive trunk of our neighbor's decades-old enormous willow combine to create an almost-solid wall of privacy?? Notice the view behind and between the two pines and the cool, deep shade. And oh, did I mention the privacy???

We knew for years it would come to this. The willow had been hit by lightning. Last summer I knew it was coming down soon when I saw how extensively the trunk had rotted and how rapidly it had deteriorated since the year before. I was afraid it would come down on our pines. I'm grateful it didn't. While we were sleeping one cold, windy January night, the proverbial tree fell in the forest. We didn't hear it. Did it make a sound?

This is all that's left of the willow. There's nothing left of our neighbor's lawn. The heavy equipment and the crew turned a lawn into a mud pit in two days. This tree was so massive, although it was already down on the ground, it took two days, a crew, and a bulldozer to remove it. I shudder when I think of the expense. I shudder more when I think of the loss of privacy.

Once upon a time we had a cool, green wall of trees, shrubs, and deep shade across the back of our property. Our back yard used to be our own private little oasis. We live out here in summer (Cicada summers excepted.)

When it fell, the willow took out everything in it's path, including another tree, a couple of mature shrubs, and our privacy. Although these pictures were taken in different seasons, it's plain to see the loss of privacy. I knew the tree coming down was imminent. I'm so grateful our neighbor's willow came down in their yard instead of into ours, sparing our three pines.

I didn't count on it taking the shrubs and our backyard privacy with it. It's time to wrap up the research and go shrub shopping. Maybe even today if I can talk myself into braving our lovely, frigid spring weather and fresh snow cover.


  1. It is so tragic to lose such an important element in your garden! I can hear your loss in the tone of your post.

    So sorry!


    (p.s. We had a lab mix like George. She was so loyal and smart. We miss her still)

  2. You get to go shopping. Shopping. I love, adore, revere, praise willows--but, you get to go shopping!

  3. It's amazing what difference one tree does. I hope you get your privacy back.

  4. Unfortunately willow's never seem to live super long. We had two when I was growing up and something happened to each of them. They are so pretty I'm tempted to plant one out front on my property line.

    I'll keep peeking back to see if you did get out shopping and if so, what you bought. This week I bought a stunning pieris japonica in full bloom. It smells like heaven!

  5. It's hard to lose that privacy screening. (Can you say "Hello, neighbor"?) Have you considered some quick temporary screening such as trellises with annual vines and lots of very tall sunflowers?

  6. Kathryn, It's going to take some time getting used to what it looks like now. It's very strange!

    I'm so sorry about the loss of your doggie. Lab mixes seem to make very nice family pets. Like you said, loyal and smart.

    Nancy, I hope it will be an opportunity to plant a few things I don't have here that I've loved in the past and missed. Fast-growing and tall are definitely on the list of requirements.

    Benjamin, Exactly! I don't actually LIKE shopping though. Except for plants. I do make an exception for plants. I've spent hours researching what to get, now I just have to see what I can find.

    Vanillalotus, I plan to! It might take a little while for things to fill in, but hopefully if I start out with large enough specimens that will speed things up. We spend too much time outside to leave it bare like that.

    Melanie, They just don't seem like very strong trees. They do grow fast though.

    And they sure are pretty. I've always thought that.

    MMD, Exactly! Hello neighbor! I'm used to having a lot of privacy in the back yard, so it's definitely weird.

    It's only part sun, and now that the willow is gone, it's boggy back there. The conditions back there limit my options.

    I think I'll plant some tall shrubs. I'm also considering a river birch. I hope it won't be long at all before it's all filled in again back there. I plan on wasting no time seeing to it!

  7. It's so difficult to adjust to such a change. We had to remove a large rhodie (nothing like a willow) but it's had significant impact to our backyard space.

  8. Gardeness, it is definitely going to take some getting used to. It just looks strange. Before you couldn't even tell there was a house behind us.

    You must miss the flowers from your rhododendron. That would be a hard one for me to lose.


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