I enjoyed time in my backyard garden this afternoon. After a weekend of heavy rains, the sunshine today was welcome. And the ground was damp still, which created ideal conditions for a necessary gardening task…weeding.
Wearing long sleeves and gloves for protection, I tackled a much needed project…removing miniature clumps of ornamental grasses that were popping up all over the garden. This wasn’t my typical puttering in the backyard. This was hard work, using both a hand shovel and a larger spade to dig up those tenacious little grasses.
But all work and no play is never my intention. After the last blade of grass was tossed into the bin, it was time for some gardening fun, and a special project that warmed my heart.
On the first day of spring this year, the big old maple tree that overhung my backyard came down. Twisted and damaged in the 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, the tree was dying. Large pieces of bark were peeling off and the huge limbs were hollowing out. The tree presented a danger to my house and the neighbor’s home. As sad as I was to see the tree cut down, it was the right action.
The rotten crumbling pieces of wood were disposed of. Greg cut up other portions into firewood that could be burned in the fire pit. And some of the trunk sections and bigger limbs he set aside for my creative use. This afternoon I turned my attention to what remained of maple tree.
I chose a couple of large maple sections with hollowed out areas, and a smaller solid branch, and positioned them in a bare spot in the garden. The hollow areas sparked my imagination. I could see these two cut up branches serving as planters. The smaller third section was the perfect size to hold a potted plant or flower.
I used a bag of top soil to fill in the hollowed logs. And then the fun began as I considered which flowering and non-flowering plants to create with.
I planted colorful vinca and white salvia in the taller of the two hollow logs. In the shorter section I tucked sweet potato vines around yellow calibrachoa. And perched on the solid plant stand is a pot of aromatic garden sage. I settled another small pot of yellow calibrachoa next to my new planter.
I am so thrilled with how this grouping turned out. I like the way the maple planters look in the garden. But most of all, I love that these unique garden accents came from the maple tree that shaded my yard for years.
These planters and the stand are temporary. They will age and weather and the wood will break down, becoming rich mulch and compost in my garden. For those reasons, I planted annuals within them.
These are amazing gifts from maple tree. I will enjoy the planters and the stand this summer. And my garden will then benefit from the deteriorating wood as the tree returns to the earth from which it sprang.
What a beautiful legacy. Thank you maple tree.