On a calm afternoon recently, another of our maple trees fell. This gigantic tree was so tall that it fell across the yard, through the bamboo grove, with the canopy spreading across our neighbors’ lane. A phone call from our neighbor sent mister gardener scurrying with his chain saw to help clear enough of the mangled boughs and branches to allow their invited dinner guests, due to arrive shortly, enough space to squeeze around the tree with their cars.
This fallen maple tree prompted mister gardener to have the two trees that lay on the frozen ground removed. On the day of the removal, we were told that one other old maple was completely hollow and could fall at any time. Oh, but I was very fond of this tree with the many pockets, a tree that I passed every day on my walk. I could visualize just taking the crown and leaving the trunk as a snag for animals of all sorts.
Because of the location, mister gardener made the decision to take the entire tree and I think his decision was the right one. At the end of a long day, our three old friends made the journey off the property together. They have left us with a big empty space in the yard where they stood for many, many years. Where there was once shade, there is now full sun. It is much too bare and I am already on the case, trying to decide what trees plant in place of our maples.
The site is well away from salt water in slightly acid soil. Any suggestions? I know one thing: whatever I choose, the new trees will have mighty big shoes to fill.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester