"When life hands you lemons, make sure you have vodka."
"What the f*ck happened?!"
" 'It'll be okay', she says, as she sits sobbing in the fetal position."
I've been talking for years (seriously, years) about taking down the dogwood in the front of the house. I've also been talking for years (yes, years again) about removing the forsythia on the side of the house. I struggle with decisions about my garden.
The dogwood was planted a long time ago, before we ever moved in. It was brilliantly planted RightNextToTheRetainingWall so that its roots would eventually crack the wall and require us to replace it. Awesome! Expensive future project! But even more worrisome is that in the last couple of years, the tree started to lean to the point that I was afraid that a strong wind would topple it over and on to a pedestrian on the sidewalk or my neighbor's car. Also, during the past two winters, I noticed that there were little piles of wood dust here and there on the tree, as is if it had termites.
The forsythia was also planted prior to us moving in and was too big for its space. It was planted between my neighbor's driveway and my side walkway. To pass through either, I had to prune it in an odd shape - flat on my side and constant pruning on my neighbor's side so it didn't scratch her car.
Still, both provided privacy (which you know I love since my city neighbors and I are all on top of each other).
|The forsythia at the end of the allee, shielding us from the front yard.|
|The dogwood and the lilac in the corner creating some privacy in the front yard.|
And both had lovely spring and summer blooms.
I finally decided that the dogwood had to come down. It was leaning too much and it's affectionate moniker, "the half-dead dogwood", wasn't quite funny anymore. I could deal with it. I'd manage. I'd made a decision! J called his tree guy who came and gave an estimate, which included "reducing the forsythia" to get the stump grinder through the yard and to the dogwood stump.
"Oh, I can do that," I said. "How much does he need me to prune?
"Let me email him and ask," J said.
A few days later, I came home from work to this.
The tree guy showed up without telling us. Huh. But, I guess my suspicion about termites wasn't far off!
And then I saw that this also happened.
This is what "reducing" the forsythia means, apparently.
Needless to say, I walked inside and flipped the F out on J. Not that it was his fault, but he received the brunt of my rant about the lack of communication and professionalism from the tree guy, who assured us the forsythia would grow back in a year during a call I forced J to make to him right then and there. My Google search disagreed about the growth rate, and I ranted away.
|We can see the whole street from here, kids!|
And yet.... I hated to admit it, because I knew that I SHOULD be mad since this wasn't what I asked for, but I almost felt relieved. The choice was made for me. I couldn't pull the trigger myself to get rid of a bush that so obviously didn't belong in that small space, but now it was gone. Yes, if I left it, it might grow back in a year or two, but did I really want it to?
They came back to stump grind the dogwood a few days later and took the forsythia out with it, per my request. The lilac had to go, too, since they couldn't get the stump grinder to the rotted dogwood stump with it in its way. I think I am most sad about that, though it too was planted in a bad spot (that one's my fault).
I now have this space where the dogwood and lilac were:
And this space where the forsythia once was (the mulched part in the foreground housed my tomato plants this year):
It is so, so bare. I feel naked and exposed. I need to buy something (appropriate-sized bushes? a small fence? an arbor?) to plant/install to define the end of the front yard and the start of the allee. Feel free to send any suggestions my way.
At the same time, I now have 31 feet of sunny planting space (where I used to have 12 feet) to go full throttle with my front-yard veggie garden. I've already been dog-earing my new 2016 Baker Creek seed catalog with wild abandon. For the first time, I can envision multiple layouts of designs for the front yard whereas before I needed Neighbor M to draw me a plan because I just couldn't "see" it. Also, I'll get to feed us for six months from the front yard! I'll get to can veggies for the winter! I'll get to donate any excess to the local food pantry!
I still feel like I forgot to put my clothes on every time I walk out the front door, but I'm pretty excited about the possibilities in store.