After thirty years, the rhymes and reasons of this garden are occasionally garbled. Please excuse my faulty recollection if timelines are muddled. It’s a flub, not a fib, though I’m not above an innocent embellishment when the details are foggy.
Several trees have been here for the duration. I know, I dug every hole, five ponds, laid the path stones and patios, and accept credit and blame for both splendid and ill conceived design. Durable and shoddy construction are mine, a result of hard labor, but also knowing shortcuts that crept into the process. I apologize for plant choices that made sense, somehow, at the time, and yes, I would do it differently to do it again, but very little.
Nothing, or nearly nothing, is the same as when it started. The oldest pond (below) has been reconstructed five times, I think, and now a more minor redo is in order. Two of five trees planted in year one remain in place, a purple leafed European beech and the Bigleaf magnolia. One of two dogwoods perished, with the other moved from soil that was too damp too close to the house.
A Japanese maple (below) encroached on the front walk after only a few years, so it was transplanted to an expanded bed area along the driveway. In another ten years, the maple overgrew into the drive, the hazard of staying in one place for too many years.
I recall the difficult task of digging the wide spreading maple. Far too valuable to shortcut, I was determined that not a leaf be lost in the process. Until, that is, the width and weight of the roots that were dug became apparent, when in desperation a rope was stretched from my vehicle to encircle the ball of roots and soil, which was then bumpily dragged to the new position. Not advisable, but it worked.
The dogwood (above), once planted within several feet of the house, was moved into the general direction vacated by the Japanese maple. Details of this transplant are long forgotten, so the labor must have been uneventful. In any case, the dogwood survives, though it is afflicted with cankers, black spot, and mildew that are so common to our treasured native dogwood. Every year, I expect signs of decline, and if these eventually appear in another thirty years, I am unlikely to be here to witness.
I remain proud of the front walk, constructed from the thickest, pockmarked bluestones to save a dollar, but also to give a weathered appearance from the start. Not a stone has broken, and certainly the heaviest will remain long after the nearby Blue Ridge mountains have washed to the sea. Yes, one stone is raised slightly above the next, but none can, or will be moved.
The walk is overhung by two ‘Seriyu’ Japanese maples (above) that replaced the failing dogwoods in year three or four, I guess. I don’t recall my dear (but often critical) wife voicing her objections at the time, but for a period the walk was impassable following a rainstorm until branches, that now arch overhead, firmed up. While few things are exactly as expected, this was the plan from the start. Horrible design, I admit, but superb after thirty years.