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In the photo above, you can see the entire front of the house. The solid object to the extreme left is an old spruce that borders the driveway. Just past it in the center of the photo, the greenery to the left of the steps is a hydrangea, which will have blue snowballs this year as I'm fertilizing it with an acid mixture. In the photo below, you can more clearly see that along the front porch and bordering the front steps, I have one of my rose gardens. It contains Electron, Fisherman's Friend, Brigadoon, and Queen Elizabeth. Off to the right, you can see one of the rose standards, French Perfume.
The photo below shows the three rose standards along the front porch; from the left, French Perfume, Double Delight, and Sheer Bliss.
At the right-hand side of the front porch is a circle containing this dwarf blue spruce, which is underplanted with variegated euonymous. You can barely make out Sheer Bliss to the left of the spruce. This circle anchors the turn into the side yard.
This is a shot of the left-hand side of the front yard, showing Electron and Fisherman's Friend in full bloom. Brigadoon and Queen Elizabeth are just starting to bloom, as you can see in the right-hand portion of the photo.
Moving to the right, you can see Double Delight and Sheer Bliss in full bloom.
In late May 2000, Electron is in full flush to the left; the deep red to the lower center is Fisherman's Friend; and Brigadoon is to the right.
Here's a shot of the front yard in mid-May 2006. The new topsoil and grass seed have done their magic. You can see how well the pachysandra bed around the spruce tree is doing. Just to the left of center, the mock orange is getting ready to explode into bloom. Off to the center right you can see the rosebud azalea still in bloom under the weeping cherry tree.
After the great cutting down to size during the second week of June, here's what the front yard now looks like. You will note that the side yard is no longer obscured.
This is the front of the house in late May, 2007, with Fisherman's Friend putting on a show.
In 2008, the cardinal from the backyard also visits the front yard.
This poor little fellow obviously fell out of a nest and was being harassed by the cardinals, who drove him out into the street. As I didn't know where the nest was so that I could put him back, I thought it best to leave things to Mother Nature.
Here's the front yard in early June. That's FIsherman's Friend (red) to the left with Sunbright (yellow) to its right. The one not yet in bloom and stretching up skyward is Queen Elizabeth.
I happened to look out an upstairs window at the large spruce tree in the front yard and what should greet my eyes but this cute bird (a robin, methinks) sitting in its nest.
In the aftermath of the disaster of February 2010 (see my Garden Journal for the whole story), I noticed that the spruce tree in the front yard garden (about forty feet tall) had developed a very pronounced lean. Given that the damage to the spruce in the side yard garden wasn't visible from the outside, and given that were it minded to topple over, the lean would have it crashing into the house, I took no chances and brought in a tree surgeon. Unfortunately, next week (the third week of March), the tree surgeon will be back to take down the tree, as once it's shifted as much as this one has, it cannot be saved and presents a clear and present danger to the house. It saddens me greatly but I have no choice. Once the tree is down and the stump is ground down, the pachysandra bed will also go away and the entire area will become part of the front lawn. As you can see in various photos above, the tree has always stood straight and proud. After this winter's blizzards, the following photos show you what's happened and why I have no choice in this. In the first photo, you can see that the tree is now leaning to the south, aiming right at the house.
This second photo shows it from the other side; the lean is even more apparent.
This last photo shows the lean toward the west. Given that we get nor'easters, a stiff wind from the northeast might well sent it crashing into the house.
On the weekend of March 12-14, we had a storm that dumped over four inches of rain (!) and had wind gusts of hurricane force. I fully expected the tree to topple, and it was, I think, about to do so when the wind finally abated on Saturday night. This is what it now looks like, with a much more pronounced tilt toward the west (the howling wind was from the east). I won't sleep well till it's removed. You've heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? How about the Leaning Tree of Edison!
Well, today the house changed forever. The tree surgeon and his crew arrived and took down the tree. I was surprised that the tree cutter just climbed up the tree, taking off the limbs as he climbed up, and then dropping the logs as he climbed back down. Here's a photo montage of the disappearance of the tree. First, the tree cutter is getting ready to climb the tree.
He's up the tree and cutting limbs.
There goes another limb.
More limbs fall.
About half-way up now.
The limbs are falling fast.
You can see the pronounced tilt of the tree.
On the way to the top.
Fortunately, the limbs are smaller the higher he goes.
Way up over the house.
Just about done taking off the limbs.
It's a sad, sad sight.
The top of the tree is about to go.
On the way down.
Logs get cut off as he climbs back down.
There goes a six foot log.
And another one.
Preparing to drop the rest of the trunk.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
There's the stump, not long for this world.
The rings of the trunk. The tree was over 50 years old.
A crane truck was needed to lift the logs.
The weight of even the logs is enormous; the thought of that tree hitting the house is frightening.
Loading the logs on the truck.
There goes the stump.
What's left before grinding.
The front yard sans tree and sans stump. The pachysandra bed will be torn out and the circle will become part of the front lawn.
This is the dwarf blue spruce (picea pungens bakeri) in the foundation bed circle between the front yard and side yard gardens. It's been pruned and has had the mostly dying undergrowth cleared away from underneath and looks much better.
Here's the new view of the front yard with the border planting bed extended from the cherry tree to the mockorange. Three mountain laurels have been planted in the new bed. Since I could never get grass to grow there, in the shade of the cherry tree, this is an ingenious solution to the problem.
The overgrown arborvitae to the right of the front steps was particularly ratty looking after the blizzards of 2010 as the heavy wet snow bent many of the branches over. I decided that as part of the renewal of the landscape, it had to go, and it did. It's been replaced by this lovely spiral cut juniper.
Here's the blue spruce bed. As you can see, it's now neat and quite attractive.
A different view of the new bed by the cherry tree.
The front of the house and the front yard as it appears now. The pachysandra was ripped out and the circle of bare soil should soon be filled by a mix of ryegrass and kentucky bluegrass.
Toward the end of April, the grass has grown nicely and you can barely see the circle where once the mighty spruce stood.
A few weeks later -- tree? What tree?
Looking toward the west, the mock orange in the center of the picture is getting ready to bloom.
Mr. Cardinal from the back yard also visits the front yard.
We've had another visitor to the front yard!
Having had the house washed and the woodwork painted, I went ahead and replaced the front porch lights with something more in keeping with the overall appearance of the house.
At the end of June, here's the front of the house. The rose Fisherman's Friend is on the left, Falstaff is on the right (both red), Queen Elizabeth is in the background (pink), and the daylily Plum Perfect is down below.
On the first day of summer 2011 the appearance of the front yard garden changed once again. The allegedly dwarf blue spruce in the circle to the left proved that it was anything but a dwarf. It had grown taller than the house! It looked totally out of place and was much too close to the house for comfort. So .... I had it cut down (after what happened with the other two spruce trees it was hardly a difficult decision) and it has been replaced with a Crepe Myrtle, which should never get that big. Here's the left side of the front yard garden now. That's Tropicana in bloom to the left.
In early July, this is what the front yard foundation plantings look like to the right of the front steps. That's the Plum Perfect daylily to the left and the Indian Giver daylily, newly planted this year, to the right. The glossy abelia is to the far right.
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