Monday, August 20, 2007


This photo of Bernie does not depress me. It cheers me. Bernie always cheers me, which is why I posted the photo.
Because I need cheering. Be prepared: I'm going to whine.
A little over three years ago we bought this house. I had not planned on buying a home in this particular suburb, but since this house was located to close to where we were looking we decided to see it. I immediately fell in love with the house because it had beautiful, mature oak and elm trees in the front yard. Really lovely. We moved in the end of March. A few weeks later we realized something was very wrong. Two of the red oak never leafed out. We were devastated to learn that they had oak wilt and that the two other gorgeous red oak would probably get it too. We took those two oak down and then the two others the following year. It left a huge, ugly gap in the middle of our front yard. I hated it. I talked about moving. However, we still had two attractive white oaks, three graceful elms, and several scrawny burr oaks. We could not move and I gradually got used to our home's less-wooded look. Two years passed, taking us to this spring. One of the elms started to lose leaves. I delayed calling the city arborist. I feared the inevitable. One morning there was a knock at my door and a smiling but somber young man greeted me with, "I regret to inform you that I've had to mark one of your trees for removal. That tree has dutch elm disease."
I cried.
I tried to pretend that the other two elms, their branches intertwined with their diseased sister, would be fine. But it was not so. Within a few weeks they were showing signs of decline and while we were in Europe, they were also marked for removal.
I convinced myself that it was for the best. One of the elms reached far over our roof. The neighbors were always anxious about another, whose branches swept down over their garage. Just over a week ago we had a horizontal wind storm in the Twin Cities that took down innumerable trees. In some neighborhoods trees went through windows and crashed through roofs. The State Fair grounds lost a number of century-old Goliaths. The elms in my yard withstood it, but such a storm makes you lie awake praying that they don't come down on you. So I was fine with it. For safety's sake they would have to come down soon anyway. It was good that the trees were diseased because this way the city would haul them for free.
Thursday they took down the elms. When I walked out the door after they were done, my jaw dropped and tears sprang to my eyes. I had not realized how much elegance those trees lent our home. I was completely unprepared for the stark ugliness left by their removal. I didn't realize how unattractive my neighbor's house was.
I have an appointment at Bachman's for a landscaping consultation Wednesday. We'll put some new stuff in, but whatever. There's no way it's going to look as nice as it did. Not only have we lost some of our home's value, we've had to pay a lot to have the trees removed and now the landscaping will be expensive.
On Saturday I said to J, "We're moving to Maine." We're not moving to Maine. But I've been on Yes, it's come to that. That's how depressed I am. I did find the perfect Maine home, but that's not making me feel better.


Karen ~ said...

Oh Sweetie, I feel for you, really I do. I know how hard it is to lose a tree (or several) and I, too, have shed tears over that act. All the reasons you gave to put a positive spin on the situation will help (if repeated frequently) and so will the new flowers you will be able to plant next year in your suddenly more sunny yard. But you're right, it will never be the same.

ave said...

I think trees can be as beloved as pets, how awful to loose so many in such a short amount of time. I am very sorry for the loss of beauty. There are some faster growing oaks that I heard about from Mum I think, supposedly they mature in much less time then average hardwoods, I think birch may grow more quickly too.

Montserrat said...

How awful! Whatever you decide to plant in their place don't do elm again. They are pretty but they are so susceptible to disease that it's not worth it.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to be a beautiful maple, and they turn the most beautiful colors! I remember at the very end of our property on North Street we had a sweet little silver maple. And all up and down Walls Street there were sugar maples. They're so pretty! And of all the trees in all our yards that we've had, maples and birches have withstood the wind and cold and rot the best. You could also do some apple trees out on the edges. We had one of our swings on an apple tree, and they smell really good in the spring. And they have beautiful pink blooms. Not all is lost! Keep the house, and replant trees. Don't settle for flowers and bushes. They're pretty, but they don't offer shade or fun. They belong on the edges of houses and land, and in gardens, not in the yard. Your yard, I'm sure, will look beautiful when your done. Just give the trees a few years to mature. You'll be surprised at how fast they come in!

And I just want you to know that the word verification for this one is "smaht." That's me!

athena said...

that's too bad about the trees. i agree that having mature trees on the property make for a nicer environment. here in austin we have trouble growing trees period. we have a friend who is unable to grow any trees because his house and land sits on one large slab of rock.

we have a friend moving to maine. i think they said they bought a small farm there. nice.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your trees! It's amazing how Maine soothes. You know I would never discourage you from moving there. I knew all along your top 10 list was fake ;)

P.S. Your pictures from Europe are beautiful.