Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Front Yard

Yesterday I planted a new front yard. I had this insight to share, a definition of a garden: A garden is a place that has easily-dug soil. That's it.

But its not a garden until this is true. What I did yesterday -not a garden. Not even now. But a front yard with new plants. If you have to work as hard as I did with a shovel and a maddox, its not a garden -yet. You have to make it one.

Together with two, at one time three others, we drove to the Red Hook Nursery District and then our local J & L. Five shrubs and 25 perennials later, but emptied-handed when it came to the desired tree, we took on another passenger and headed to J & L. There they saw it -the perfect weeping cherry tree. Nothing attracts a new yard builder like a weeping cherry tree in April. They had one in back, full-flowered branches weeping nearly to the ground. I could tell it was in a pot too small for its 2.5 inch caliper. As I tried to steer them back to the younger, more spindly cherries, they gravitated back to their desire. Sold!

The tree was some of the worst pot-wound, root-bound I've ever dealt with. I hacked until I worried, then planted the sucker. They were watering in at 9:30pm. What a day. Today I am shot.

I am always concerned when anyone wants to plant a tree three or four feet from their house. But the desire for what they see now is so strong, it overcomes rationality, its an emotional decision. After all, there are so many others on the block and they are fine, right? And the neighbors, they love it. It got lots of looks, and even a few comments. Nothing pleases like a cherry tree in April.


  1. I don't know what the deal is, but I've had a tremendous issue with rootbound plants this spring. All I can figure is that my vendors cut back their staff last year, and there's no one to pot stuff up or root prune. I just planted three 15 gallon birches today- one had a root as thick as a pencil completely encircling the rootball. It shouldn't take me ten minutes of sawing with my soil knife to have a tree ready to plant!

  2. I agree. This cherry was the same. Pencil thick roots on the interior, spaghetti wrapping the outside. But I think this cherry may have been on the nurseries lot here in NYC for a few years. Seems odd though, so maybe in came in that way. I hope it thrives. Plus, its money for labor you have to spend that the nursery should have priced into the tree.


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