Sunday, September 18, 2011

After 20 Years, It's Time

While I'm on the general subject of our 20th anniversary living in Seattle, I figured our front yard re-do qualified for inclusion in this series of blog posts.

When we moved into our new home in Seattle in September 1991, the company that had been mowing the lawn and providing general yard service for the former owners asked if we'd like to keep them on the payroll. We were fine with that plan. Not long afterward, the lead landscaper asked us (more like begged) if we'd like to cut down the crabapple tree just to the right of our front door and replace it with a healthy tree of some other variety. He'd apparently been working hard on the former owners to convince them it was time for this tree to go; apparently the crabapple was diseased and beyond hope. We told the guy, "No thanks." several times and he gave up asking.

We never thought the crabapple tree looked  all that bad those first few years but gradually we noticed that the only time the tree had any glimmer of life was in early spring when a lovely showing of pink flowers sprouted from struggling winter limbs. Soon afterward, all the tree's green leaves would turn brown and one by one drop all summer long such that by August, all that remained was a dry, scraggly mess of branches.  When the once well trimmed hedge of boxwood bushes surrounding the crabapple tree quadrupled in size over the ensuing years and restricted movement on the front walkway, we finally considered the advice the landscaper gave us 20 years back. Sometimes it takes us awhile to listen.

Long story short: the crabapple tree, pronounced hopeless and ready for the saw back in September of 1991, was finally put to rest along with the overgrown boxwoods. I don't like the idea of cutting down trees but this time I didn't feel too badly. I figure the crabapple and the boxwood bushes enjoyed long lives, many seasons beyond what the landscaper recommended. As evidenced by these photos below, it was time.


I drove up to the house late Friday afternoon after work, slowly took a deep breath and walked up the front steps to get the first view of the newly designed bed in front of our dining room window.  I barely recognized the house as mine. The new plantings looked so tiny compared to the bulk of green and twisted bark of the dying tree. Plus, all the open space took my breath away.

We now have a weeping cherry tree (fast growing I'm told) and at the base, small boxwoods and flowering azaleas. I envision planting tulip and daffodil bulbs around the trunk of the tree. Come spring, color will erupt from the ground.

I'm wondering what this space would look like had we taken the landscaper's advice twenty years ago.  Would this weeping cherry now tower up to the rooftop? I guess we'll have to give it another bit of time to know for sure.

Time marches on. We make choices every day. Big and small.


  1. Wow! The new tree and plantings look great. It will be fun to welcome spring and see the blooms outside your window.

  2. Oh, it's lovely! Thanks for sharing the 'back story' and it might be nice to have an annual 'see the tree' post...

  3. Wow, that looks great!! I'm excited to see it in person! :)


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