In this thirty-one year old garden, plants come and go. Most losses were minor presences, not well suited from the start, but occasionally a more prominent focal point is lost. A year ago, a long established, but slowly declining Alaskan cedar was lost, and while I’m happy not to be gazing out the kitchen window at browned needles, its removal has brought more sunlight into this part of the garden.

I am enthused by new plantings in the broad area once occupied by the cedar, and just a few feet away, by a wide spreading yew that added little but consumed too much space. Without the cedar and yew, the area seems under planted, but with more sunlight neighbors and new plants should quickly fill.

In better days, the Blue Atlas cedar rises above the Japanese maples planted beside the koi pond.

Unhappily, I have concluded that a tall Blue Atlas cedar beside the koi pond is on its way out. While the cause is not apparent, the cedar has shed needles throughout this year, and now it is nearly bare. Though it was given a wide space, still the cedar’s planting was short sighted given its eventual mature size. Some day, probably long after I am dead and gone, this would become a problem, but no more.

So, this significant presence is about to be lost, and now, the question becomes how to get rid of this thirty foot tall evergreen. I was fortunate in removing the Alaskan cedar that there was a narrow path to drop it without injuring neighboring plants, but the Blue Atlas is surrounded, so its removal must be accomplished with more care.

This, of course, would be little challenge for professionals, but I remain reluctant to allow outsiders to stomp through the garden. So again, I will undertake a removal project that is several steps beyond my expertise.

The flowers of ‘Yellowbird’ are a deeper yellow than the pale yellow of the front garden’s ‘Elizabeth’.

Certainly, for better or worse, I will report on the results, and for weeks already I have concluded that the replacement to fill the void should be a yellow flowered ‘Yellowbird’ magnolia. Without a doubt, the magnolia is better suited to this spot, and an eight footer will fill the void to minimize regret for the loss of the Blue Atlas.

Changes are a part of the garden. One loss presents opportunities for fresh plantings. I hope, and expect, that a year from now the loss of the cedar will be seen as a gain for the garden.

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