Saturday, May 22, 2010

My, How You've Grown!

Well this is a happy post.

I was admiring the linden/basswood/lime/tilia the other day, and trying to remember just how small it was when we bought it two autumns ago in Medina, TX. And it struck me that it would be rather instructive to do before-and-afters for a lot of the features in our yard.

So, here's that crazy, fast-growing tilia. Planted in fall 2008, photographed in April of 09, and just updated this month.

There must be some reason that I don't know about why people aren't planting these things left and right. Because look how handsome, how quickly it grew in just one year, how much potential it has to produce shade quickly, how little water it requires, and how sturdy and uncomplaining it is. So far I can't help but think, what a terrific, under-utilized tree. But perhaps it attracts the souls of the dead on Halloween, or releases a terrible smell upon reaching sexual maturity, or has a taste for human blood?

The tilia's bedmate, Sophora affinis (Eve's Necklace), it another survivor. It has inexplicably thrived despite really gross abuse. We originally planted it in our short-lived, sand-filled succulent bed, where we didn't water it. Then there was a drought that killed off all its above-ground parts. Then Matt demolished the succulent bed to build a greenhouse, so we transplanted it. Then we had more of a drought, and we still practically never watered it. Now it looks like this. Eve's Necklace: the tree that can't seem to bear a grudge.

May 09 versus May 10. The redoubtable Sophora affinis.

When I flipped through my old garden photos, I was amazed at how much the bur oak has grown--I hadn't realized what it little twig it originally was--and that picture was taken after it had been in the ground for a year. It still hasn't managed to settle on a central leader, but at least it's growing out nicely.

2008 to 2010. Quercus macrocarpa.

This one isn't quite so triumphant. We were given this nice little baldcypress in June 2008, just before the drought hit. We tried to coddle it through two years of scorching dryness, but it never managed to be more than half alive. Finally, we moved it to the east side of the house and replaced it with a weeping baldcypress. In its new location, our stunted little stepchild is... still only half alive (on left below).

Left is current location; right is in 2009, after a year of tender ministrations

In terms of whole beds, check out how much rosy charm has accumulated around the gazebo since 2007 (most of the roses were only planted in 2008, by the way):

The gazebo, 2007-2010

And wow, that trellis really was a good idea. I had forgotten just how public the rose garden used to be. Check out the tininess of the Mexican white oak (Q. polymorpha), too. And now it's so big!

The front bed, 2008-2010

And here's the rose bed from the other side. This "before" picture is even older--spring or summer 2007. The "after" pic was from April of this year--believe it or not, the '4th of July' rose (on the trellis) is even bigger than it was 1 month ago.

The rose bed, 2007-2010

And lastly, our already-beloved pond. On the left, you can sort of see the rim of the black liner at the foot of the ligustrum. On the right--aaaahhh, beautiful bigness.

Pond, Jan 08 - May 10

It's so easy to get stuck in the moment with gardening--to wonder impatiently when your trees are going to start giving shade, when your vines are going to fill in their trellises, and when your flowers are going to start blooming.

Patience, young grasshopper. It will happen. And in a space of time that will only feel long.

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