"Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost."
Dante, Inferno, Canto 01
Instead of losing my straightforward path in a dark forest, I’ve found my backyard shade replaced by a sunny path. The recent sudden fall of the latest branch from the old pine shade tree living at the top of the waterfall has changed the yard. While the old tree still stands, it looks more like a giant bonsai than a healthy shade tree. This was the third major break in the past few years, and it was the tallest of the remaining branches.
Here are after and before pictures, both taken in mid-morning. The puddle of morning shade, once sheltering the pond and the table behind it is now mostly in morning sun.
I’ve sown flower seed to fill the gap the falling branch made in the midst of the old vegetable garden. Four of the five tomato plants survived. When planting yesterday, I excavated the top of a branch as thick as my wrist that has embedded itself in the dirt. The guys who cut and moved the fallen branch cut it off and left the other end in the dirt - it’s in there pretty deep. It will remain there until I cultivate the entire plot next autumn.
This has given me a new sunny area for my mums. I’ve put two green glazed pots on sections of the stump, and planted several other mum cuttings around the base. There should be sufficient sun to set flowers. My Tollsron’s weeping juniper, planted almost 20 years ago from a 1 gallon pot (at left in picture), is getting ready to provide the most shade for this part of the yard. The ironic problem is that one of the only remaining branches on the old pine is still looming above the juniper. I have no doubt that the pine is slowly succumbing to some kind of stress (probably a combination of boring pests and drought), but I don’t have the heart to speed the process by cutting the last big branch. And until it falls, the juniper will be forced to live in the pine’s shadow.
I’m happily using the sink installed by the gardener’s spouse, complete with backboard I decorated with left over house paint and a stencil I made using some old wallpaper to add my thinking gardener’s Latin motto: I think, therefore I garden.