Yes, there are a lot of trees in this acre and a quarter garden, too many if you listen to my wife, whose opinion is hardly considered in these matters. If not for the dozens of Japanese maples (almost forty), dogwoods (a dozen or more), and ones, twos, and threes of many others, the garden would be considerably sunnier. But it’s not, and I will happily grow hostas and ferns instead of coneflowers and tickseeds that require more sunlight.
I see no reason to apologize or make excuses for this, and hardly a week in spring goes by that I’m not considering some scheme to squeeze in another tree or two that’s caught my attention. There is still a patch of lawn at the low end of the rear garden, and not to wish ill of her, but if my wife keeled over dead tomorrow I’d be digging holes in it before the weekend. I’d have no problems figuring out the first handful of trees to plant.
Until a few years ago, there were two red leafed Forest Pansy redbuds (Cercis candadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, above) in the garden. One aged tree became too shaded, spindly, and what was left of it was crushed when a maple from the neighboring forest toppled onto it in a December ice storm. The other redbud flourished in a somewhat sunny spot that unfortunately grew wetter, until finally the tree failed. In both spots, the issues that caused the failures dictated that it was unwise to plant another. No doubt, I’ve done more idiotic things, but occasionally good reason prevails. Still, I think about where another Forest Pansy could be fit in.
A few days ago, I saw a Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus, above) in a neighborhood down the street in full bloom. The unfortunate tree had been sheared tightly into some awful shape, but this spurred an amazing number of blooms that got me thinking about the one that I planted years ago. With no warning, the tree went from full bloom to brown overnight, and I think from time to time that I’d like to plant another. If I could carve out just a little space, it doesn’t need much.
Somewhat larger (much larger) is the Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea, above), and if there was an opportunity to plant one tree, perhaps because one was lost to a storm, this would be my first choice. A few years ago I considered yellowwood to replace a Seven Son tree (Heptacodium miconioides) that snapped in a summer storm, before finally settling on a Red horsechestnut (Aesculus × carnea). I haven’t regretted the choice, but haven’t given up on the yellowwood.