Honoring the Old Oak

oaks

The old Oak trees along the east border of our yard are over 100 years old. They’re tall and majestic, providing wonderful summer shade. But they are also a bit scary. Oak trees “self-prune,” which means they drop bits and pieces of themselves all over the yard. Sometimes those pieces are large branches. These old Oak trees look pretty scraggly when bare of leaves, and some of those scraggly branches are a bit too close and hang over our house. Makes us nervous, especially after our neighbor came over as soon as we moved in and told us that the tree closest to our house was a very dangerous one…it had already dropped a very large heavy branch that landed right where children had been playing in the yard only ten minutes earlier. Yikes!

We had two tree experts come out and evaluate the tree. Both agreed it was dangerous and needed to be removed. The old tree had a large hollow space in it about half-way up, so we couldn’t trust that it would hold up the heavy branches above the hollow. That hollow trunk which made it a very dangerous tree, was also the reason we didn’t want to completely remove it because inside was a very active beehive. Those bees pollinate all the flowers and gardens in this neighborhood!

So we compromised by having the tree cutters take down the top part of the tree but leave the beehive intact. We now have a very tall “stump” in our yard, strange-looking indeed, but providing a wonderful home for the bees, and for birds since we installed three birdhouses.

oak_tree

birds_and_bees

But I have visions of it being a beautiful tree, once again. Not with branches, but with flowering climbers up that fat old trunk. So our first gardening project in our new home is to honor that old Oak by planting Honeysuckle vines and creating a nice flower bed around the base of the tree. Husband has been working on a trellis to support the vines, and I’ve been putting bricks around the bottom of the tree to provide a nice flower bed. This week, we chose the plants and planted them. Mother Nature cooperated nicely by providing sunshine for our planting work and then lovely rain on the weekend to give them a great headstart.

oak_tree_garden

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