Tag Archives: sunlight

Here Comes Sunshine

It’s a January thaw and that means time to get outside and prune, or even cut down trees. Back in August I wrote about taking down trees along the shady firelane adjacent to the greenhouses. Now it’s time for the trees behind those to be removed — this will truly improve the amount of sunlight getting into the greenhouses. Our Tree Guy/Greenhouse Manager, Nick, was kind enough to wait until I had moved the more delicate shade plants  and until the ground was frozen before he started trampling all over the garden!

cutting tree

First, cut….

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Then PULL….

Timber!

Timber!

Although there is a beautiful shade garden there,  I am not sorry to see the trees go. The perennials will be moved to new homes in other parts of the Garden, and the more adaptable ones may be just fine with more sun. After all, it will still be on the north/shady side of some VERY impressive Rhododendrons.  What I will miss is the tunnel effect of the trees over this little stone walkway between the firelane and the rose garden, which always looked to me like something from a fairy tale.

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Looking out across the newly opened view of the garden from the greenhouses, I think the garden appears  smaller now. Having a hidden area tucked away to discover, on the other side of the trees, made it seem like it might be much bigger. (It’s actually not very big — about 4 ½ acres.)

But in the spring…there will be the fun of putting in a new garden, or at least planting a few new things!  Maybe a Viburnum carlesii,  with delicious sweet flowers to brush by. Maybe a trellis to frame the walkway,  or some sculptural Garden Art…maybe a garden designed by a student….stay tuned!

Change is Good, Part One

hedge

junipers

Sometimes a landscape feature seems to have such permanence, that in our minds we can’t visualize something else. Whatever tree, rock, garden is there has “always” been there and we don’t even see it any more.  Or, in my case, I see it, but can’t begin to imagine changing it. Luckily for me, there are some folks here with more vivid imaginations than mine! The out-of-control hedge along the west side of the greenhouse and the junipers casting substantial shade over the same greenhouse have been in place at the Botanical Gardens for a long, long time. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed…

The picture above gives a sense of  how big that hedge really was. The greenhouse next to it was losing out on sunlight. At the end of the alley between the greenhouse and the hedge were five junipers, also casting long dark shadows over the greenhouse.

First to go was the hedge:

west garden

And then the junipers, all except one:

last juniper

Often there are features that should be preserved, such as our  1940 WPA-built walls. The beautiful stones create a framework for the Gardens and remind us of our history.  Our large old trees can serve the same purpose, and I love them for that! But the Botanical Gardens are for the most part a “dynamic” garden,  an ever-changing place, as opposed to a “static” garden which reflects a certain time period and is held there. Change can be a little jarring at first, but after a bit of adjustment  it is like taking a deep breath and straightening up your shoulders after being hunched over a task. It feels good!

mike in tree