Are you a lover of 'greenery'? I think we all are - surely few people are not aware of it in their everyday lives. About three hundred yards from my sitting room window is a fairly youthful Silver Birch tree. It is one of my dearest friends - it tells me whether it is blowing a gale (I am too deaf to hear the wind blowing) or whether there is a gentle breeze - or even when the air is still. Its branches provide the perfect perch for a pair of pigeons at this time of the year. I don't know how long pigeons live but each year there seems to be a couple of 'courting' pigeons and they always cuddle up together on the same branch and are there on and off throughout the day at this time of the year. Also - I now begin to notice that the branches are not altogether the dark, bare branches of winter. I am too far away to see exactly what is going on but I do know, from the experience of previous years, that what I am seeing is the very early suggestion of the leaves about to burst forth - and given two or three warm days (soon I hope)- there will be a distinct green here and there on the tree - and soon small green leaves will appear and it really will be Spring.
I know sometimes trees have to be felled - whether for safety reasons or for making way for build etc., but any indiscriminate felling is really sad. Trees are living creatures, many of them several hundred years old and really the felling needs a lot of serious thought as to how necessary it is.
My front hedge is not quite a tree. Given that my bungalow has been here for around forty years and my hedge is trimmed each year but is still a good six feet tall, apart from being attractive it provides two important things - it is a brilliant wind-break on a road which is East to West and my goodness, when that cruel East wind blows in Winter the hedge is very welcome. In addition it provides perfect nesting sites for two or three house sparrows each year - it is dense and deep enough to be fairly cat-proof.
So when my gardener D came last week and said to me, "What are we going to do about your front hedge?" I didn't know what he meant. Then I went to the door and looked at it. From one end to the other (maybe 10 feet), it appears to be completely dead. The other side (the hedge separates me from my neighbour H) is perfectly green and looks just as it always has done.
I just think it might be the result of a very sharp frost we had about three weeks ago. Last year the late frost struck a lovely Hebe bush in my back garden - it appeared to have been struck dead. We decided to leave it a few weeks to see how it responded and lo and behold within a month tiny buds appeared here and there and by the Autumn it was in fine form again.
So my hedge is being given a second chance. For a couple of months at least we intend to let the Spring sunshine attempt to wake it up again. It, like every other living shrub, bush or tree should not be done away with lightly.
After Winter, when greenery begins to show its head above ground every living plant should be looked at and welcomed. The harbingers of Spring are so welcome. As with every other year since I began blogging - I shall attempt to beat Tom by quoting one of my favourite poems - Houseman's Shropshire Lad:
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
is hung with bloom along the bough,
and stands about the woodland ride
wearing white for Eastertide.
So let's all welcome the return of greenery into our lives and let's appreciate just how much it does for our wellbeing. See you tomorrow - the first of April.
Yes, it is right to give the hedge a chance as it is very early days to be passing judgement on part of it which may be in shade or wind or something. It would be unusual for frost to kill a hedge that has been there 40 years and will have seen many a hard frost but it could be a left over condition from the drought of last summer. Time will tell. It is good to see Spring coming and the green returning that is for sure. I always thought your front lawn was open plan.
Hi Pat, I completely agree with you to wait and see. I see too much destruction of wildlife habitat where I live. Then people complain when the poor animals go in search of food elsewhere. I will share a little story with you: I have a beautiful river birch on my property. I once had a tree arborist to come and assess all the plants in my yard (about an acre) to determine the health of a few that I was concerned about. The river birch was not on my list of concerns but, as he was leaving he said "you know I would get rid of that tree" I was shocked and even more so when I asked why and was told "they are just so messy - dropping debris all over." So, I said "really? that would be like euthanizing a much loved pet because it sheds" He just gave me a "look" and then he drove away. Jackie in Georgia USA
Your post was timely because I've been feeling pangs of guilt since I cut down a perfectly healthy Columnar Juniper yesterday. I become attached to every tree, shrub and perennial I plant and I don't like being responsible for their demise. This Juniper, however, had grown up in front of my window blocking the best view I have of the backyard garden. Having the view back is wonderful but every time I look at the poor Juniper lying on the ground I get the same feeling I do after reading 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein.
It's wonderful to see a green fuzz on trees and hedges when leaves start to appear. Every few years we get in a team of tree surgeons who attend to the trees and give the boundary hedges a good trim while they are here, but they won't do anything at the crucial time of year for birds and wildlife. We take the view that the garden belongs to the creatures that live in it as much as it does to us.
As Spring warmth arrives, the green of the trees and lawns will return. That said, due to ongoing very cold nights my trees show only buds. Healthy buds mean the leaves will come with warmth. I do hope your hedge recovers. The hedge gives you a nice enclosure as well as protection from the wind. Your waiting and watching approach to the hedge seems wise.
Agree with everything that you said Pat.
"First, April, she with mellow showers
Opens the way for early flowers;
Then after her comes smiling May,
In a more and rich array:
I have been watching my daffodils outside my kitchen window and they are now starting to open up a bit. I also see the sweet purple violets popping up here and there. Spring is always welcome here!
I'm so glad Spring has arrived! Finally...
Aaahhh Pat .. I'm a tree hugger.. or would be if given half a chance... I believe they hold our history .. My heart breaks a little to see a healthy tree cut down.. or a species die out like the chestnut in the US.. Is your hedge an evergreen? Does it normally lose its leaves n the Winter? You can scratch a limb with your fingernail and see if it is still green underneath.. that would be a good indication if its still alive.. surely your gardener knows that.. Which way does it face? Perhaps it took the brunt of that last cold spell... Things in TX are never really green at least not my area.. Spring or even a mild Winter may see us a little green if we get some rain but this year so far our Spring has been terribly dry .. coming off a dry Winter.. not good.. They keep promising a change in the weather pattern.. El Nino instead of La Nina.. i hope it happens.. and it better hurry up! Hugs! deb
All of a sudden we have Spring outside our windows too. The soft pink Camellia, the dark purple dwarf tulips, the yellow forsythia, daffodils and gorse flowers are all bursting into life. Wonderful.
What a wonderful post and I am another who is with you on giving your hedge a chance to warm up and leaf out.
A good while ago I read a book about the underground connection and 'communication' between trees. I cannot remember the title but it was so interesting. Will let you know if I remember the title.
Jinxxxy - my hedge which is an evergreen of some kind, faces North to South so that the sides face East to West and it is the East side which is brown (we had an acute frost abut 3 weeks ago when there were strong East winds and early morning temperature of minus 8)
Rachel - my front lawn is indeed open plan but then there is a 2car width drive and then a stretch of gravel. The hedge in question is beyond that gravel. My bungalow was built some time before the estate was built up round it. The land which was sold for the estate to be built was owned by a local farmer and he gave the plot for my bungalow to be built before he sold the land for the estate, so they were able to put in the hedge. His daughter and her husband built the bungalow after they married - it was a wedding present from her father I believe.
You therefore likely have the best plot and bungalow on the estate.
Yes, wait and see...too early to clear the hedge out..besides it isn't the time for planting hedges or trees!
That one tree...it's good to observe the daily changes. It's like a friend
It amazes me how 'dead' plants can revive. I once had a beautiful lilac. A very heavy, wet snow came before the leaves fell one autumn and it flattened that lilac bush, which was about 10 feet tall, huge and full and one of my favorite things. I thought it was gone. I hauled all those broken branches away. Next spring, there was all sorts of new growth. The following spring (after the first year), you could barely tell that anything had happened to it. It was not so tall, but every bit as full.
It's a good time to sit back and expect a miracle.
I'm so glad that you have a birch tree close to the house...that you love...my first view as I open the curtains in the morning is the most beautiful birch with long trailing twigs that blow in the wind like a teenage girl swishing her long hair. I fought our local council over a beautiful mature lime tree...they said it was dangerous...it was cut down anyway. We must just keep hoping for sense to win..x
I look out on neighvouring gardens across the road and can just see new green leaves on someone's small tree. Such a lovely sight. Sunshine is forecast for us on Sunday so maybe there will be even more greening to enjoy. We have had strong winds and lots of rain for several days now so a change will be very welcome. Very pleased your hedge is showing signs of life.
I think my comment is in your spam Weave.
I watch the birch tree out in our front yard all the time.
Oh, the cherry tree! The Purple Leaved Sand Cherry by the steps down to our patio has 3 flowers open today. It's so pretty. The flowers are a pale, pink with purple at the throat, matching the color of the leaves which are just coming out. There are lots of little dark stamens coming out of the center of the flower with little purple/red beads at the ends. It's just totally covered with buds about to burst open! Love this time of the year.
We had some strong wind yesterday, and I'm told a tree was blown over where I walk Billy in the mornings. I shall go in an hour or so, and will assess the damage!
Like Rachel, I believe the hedge has withstood many a hard frost and will survive this one, too. Nature is amazing in what it can handle, and recover from.
We have seen plenty of rain this week and there is more this weekend, hopefully helping the woods who are in desperate need of water after a series of way too dry years.
Rachel - most of the bungalows on the top road of the estate which is where I am are retired with plenty of time to garden so we are a road with pretty gardens on the whole.
Thanks to you all for joining in.
No sign of it Tom x
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