|A pecan orchard -- don't let the Beacon Hill HOA near it!|
I showed them it was only diced tomatoes, and they wandered off. Then I opened a small can of mandarin oranges and turned around to see if they were going to be fooled twice. Of course they were. Once again I demonstrated that there was nothing of interest to their refined tastes, so they took a tour of the kitchen to make sure there were no treats just out of sight, then after a leg rub to show no hard feelings, they wandered off again.
These long weeks in the short month are like that. The thermometer teases us with temperatures just a degree or so over 40 in the middle of the day, only to let loose with winds and cover it all up with clouds again. Yesterday I felt warm sun through the south-facing bedroom window, so I opened it up for my waiting friends, who in one leap achieved the window sill and a little taste of the good spring days to come. Despite careful scouting there were no birds to watch, so they carefully sniffed the air for signs of life and stretched out to enjoy the moment, not fretting that it may be only a short preview.
Having no secret dreams of catching a bird, I find my thoughts of an early spring (didn't Phil the prognosticating groundhog promise us one this year?) emerging when I spy the racks and stacks of planting pots in the garage, cleaned up and ready for a new year. Life must be dull if you don't have plans; this year's include a hoped-for repeat of last year's successes (basil, onions, carrots and tomatoes were the standouts) plus the addition of some of those new miniature berry bushes, which are supposedly being stocked by one large local garden shop in 2013. Fresh blueberries to go with a cool limoncello on the deck this summer. Oh yeah.
The view won't be impeded by any trees, courtesy of our industrious HOA Landscaping Committee. The removal of all the big ones is complete and they're raking and levelling the bare front yards. Verizon will have its hands full replacing all the fiber optic cable runs that the contractor, Good's Tree Care, ripped apart (just a bonus). The vanished trees had been ill-chosen and badly placed by the builders, it's true. The gums were far too close to the houses even when small, and the silver maples had serious above-ground root problems. I could maybe understand the loss of all our shade and bird perches if they planned to replace them with better species correctly sited, but the sad squares of front yard will be grassed over. Guess we'll have to go to a park for some shade and bird song.
In the vain hope they ever learn anything, here's a list of trees for builders not to use:
Silver maple -- too big, weak wood, surface roots, destroyer of sewer lines
Ash -- the emerald ash borer is going to kill it anyway
Quaking aspen -- sends out suckers and spreads; there's one colony in Colorado that is now 6600 tons big
Hybrid poplar -- (I have planted these) short life, prone to disease
Willow -- the root systems have been called "a terror," short lived, weak wood
Eucalyptus -- drops heavy branches and copious amounts of shed bark. Also a fire risk.
Bradford pear -- despite nice shape, lovely flowers and colorful fall leaves, this widely used landscape tree can't stand up to wind or snow
Mountain cedar -- lets loose cascades of pollen late in the year
Mulberry -- (also planted those) surface roots, pollen, messy fruit
Black walnut -- pollen, green nut pods that rot, roots release toxins harming other plants
Leyland cypress -- at every garden center, provides quick privacy, but uproots in storms and is a fire hazard
Mimosa -- lovely, but plentiful seed pods must be picked up; also spreads actively by seed
Siberian elm -- weak wood and millions of seeds
Black locust -- The 1 1/2" thorns regularly pierced the tires of my old riding mower. They'll do a number on your skin, too. Drops a lot of twigs and branches.
No more walks in the wood:
The trees have all been cut
Down, and where once they stood
Not even a wagon rut
Appears along the path
Low brush is taking over...
We and the trees and the way
Back from the fields of play
Lasted as long as we could.
No more walks in the wood.
-- John Hollander