Starting over

Three large evergreens, an English yew and an Alaskan cedar at the shaded rear corner of the house, and a Blue Atlas cedar halfway down the rear garden beside the koi pond, have required removal in the past year. A ‘Silver Cloud’ rebud that leaned at a severe angle was removed after long debate. All had been planted a decade earlier, or longer, and while not one of the four was completely dead, each was fading quickly.

None were removed gladly, and each involved an element of danger involving a ladder and chainsaw that fortunately ended with a minimum of spilt blood. Certainly, the loss of aged trees is not unusual in a maturing garden. Thirty-two years of increasing shade must take a toll, with once sunny areas now devoid of sunlight.

While planting to fill voids left by removed trees has begun, this will require several years before the results are completely satisfactory. Trees that will better tolerate the partial shade, a variegated leaf ‘Celestial Shadow’ dogwood (above) to replace the wide spreading yew, and a small Wheel tree (Trochodendron aralioides) in place of the Alaskan cedar, are under planted with shrubs and perennials that will soon erase any regret for the lost evergreens.

A yellow flowered ‘Yellow Bird’ magnolia (Magnolia × brooklynensis ‘Yellow Bird’) replaces the treasured Atlas cedar that was fading for reasons uncertain, but which I realized would someday grow far too large. The magnolia is a far superior choice for this corner of the koi pond, and the deeper yellow will be a notable contrast to the marvelous, but pale yellow ‘Elizabeth’ (above) in the front garden.

Another, lesser tree has recently been removed. The pink flowered ‘Satomi’ Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’, above when flowers were plentiful) grew in the shade of ‘Elizabeth’ and a towering Bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla). In recent years it shed lower limbs, and while it might be years before it perished it had long ago lost its ornamental appeal. In this deeper shade I question if another dogwood is a wise choice, but the variegated ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwood (below) seems an ideal tree is it can be situated into a bit more sunlight.

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