Ferngully-End Of The Line*

November 12,2009 ferngul 010 (2)
How to begin?

November 12, 2009 new ferngul 001 (2)
It finally happened. It had to.

November 12, 2009 new ferngul 008 (2)
He was hanging on by a thread, er bungee cord.

November 12, 2009 new ferngul 018 (2)
The Financier and I had both noticed that Ferngully, whose entire story can be read by clicking here, was crumbling fast. (If you do not know how magnificent Ferngully once was, please do click to read about it. He deserves at least that much.) It seemed this large limb stump was only being held up by the equally crumbling old pallet on which some stone had been delivered. The big family get together at Thanksgiving will be held very soon. The offspring and their offspring run like whistling winds through the garden, totally out of control and loving every minute. The thought of a big old chunk of Ferngully falling on any of them cemented the decision to take him down. Now.

November 12,2009 ferngul 015 (2)
The prop was removed and actually fell apart itself. We gave the once proud branch a poke and down it came with a crash. It was much larger and heavier than we had imagined. There was the hint of a shiver as it barely missed our pink sloggered footie. We gave the main trunk a shove to see how stable it was. It moved easily back and forth. Thought was given about the least damaging spot for it to fall. It was decided that it should be pushed toward the back property line to land on the path to the compost bin. If it hit the Leyland Cypresses behind the path there should not be too great a loss of limb. We, and when we refer to we in this blog, it is the royal we, for it is just me, walked around to the lower side and started to push in the desired direction.

November 12, 2009 new ferngul 020 (2)


The cameras were put well out of the way of what was to come next. There is no image captured of the actual push and shove match between me and the rotting maple carcass. It seems there was some dispute about which way he was going to go out in a full blaze of glory.


November 12,2009 ferngul 017 (2)
We now resume the story.


It happened so fast. I was putting my legs into the push for added strength. Leather gloved hands gave the old heave ho towards the evergreens which loosened the final strands of wood holding Ferngully aright. But instead of going backwards, he came right towards me. There was no stopping his momentum and my thoughts went to getting out of the way as quickly as possible. I jumped over the shrubs to the left and was just missed by the thudding tree trunk. It splintered apart but had fallen on one of the deciduous azaleas, seen leaning wrongly just to the right of the heap.

November 12,2009 ferngul 022 (2)
Lucky again, I was spared, only hit by a chunk of flying wood on the leg. The azalea, Rhododendron ‘My Mary’ was not as fortunate. With great effort and using the shovel as a lever, the remaining large piece was rolled over and a branch end wedged underneath to hold it in place. Half of the branches were broken on the azalea, it will take a few years to return to what it once was but should recover.

November 12,2009 ferngul 026 (2)
The mess o’ Ferngully was removed from the plants that were covered, the larger bits that is, for this is some primo composted material. For now the pathway to the arbor is blocked, but there is another route that can be taken. The trunk was wrestled back to the place we had wanted it to fall in the first place, back by the cypress hedge. It will be dealt with at a later date as well.

November 12, 2009 new ferngul 007 (2)November 12, 2009 new ferngul 039 (2) I am too tired to do any more about it today. And more than a little sad. Even though the sadder time was when the tree was felled back in the fall of 2003, the standing sentinel with arms outstretched was a focal point and font of power in the Fairegarden. Now it is gone. Farewell dear friend. You will be missed and remembered as your remains are spread hither and yon on the garden beds. Thank you.


The before and after shots above feature the Ferngully replacement red maple mentioned in the original story. It has grown quite a bit since being placed in 2000 but was a very small stick when planted. Insignificant compared to the girth of FG I.

November 12,2009 ferngul 039 (2)
*Not only is this a story about the end of Ferngully as we knew him, it is about the Picture This Photo Contest from Gardening Gone Wild. It seemed that the subject for the judging this month of The End Of The Line, both literally and figuratively fit into what happened to the old maple trunk. For Ferngully, it is definitely the end of the line. Finding a shot that seemed appropriate and beautiful at the same time proved impossible. We went with appropriate.

November 12,2009 ferngul 012 (2)
The above image is our entry. The trunk of Ferngully, RIP, is was near the southeast corner of our property. A power line pole sits at the corner, holding the lines for three homes, including our garage which was once a seperate address. The lines bisect the blue sky with the hulking mass of rotting wood on the left. Bits of finished rudbeckias at the bottom, leafless maples on the right and the old reinforcing wire entwined by native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens complete the rectangle. A few poufy clouds add the finishing touch. Linear, man. The end.

This photo was loaded full size, it has not been resized to save space and loading time. It has been resized and added to the Picture This page on my sidebar, but this version is the photo I would like to be considered for this months contest.


This entry was posted in before and after, Photography, Projects. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Ferngully-End Of The Line*

  1. Darla says:

    In way too much pain to comment like I want to. Enjoyed the story.

    Oh Darla, do take it easy now and rest that arm. We hope you feel better soon. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    The poor old tree did its duty to the end. You must be careful in the garden or you will get your Royal We smashed. I hope the azalea comes back strong for you.

    HA Lisa,thanks, your sense of humor dives straight to my funny bone! I was thinking that one of these days my luck is sure to run out. Carelessness or stupidity not withstanding. There are nice flower buds on My Mary that were spared. Those azaleas are slow growers, maybe a little of that rich ferngully dust would do the trick. Only fitting, don’t you agree? πŸ™‚

  3. Lzyjo says:

    oh,my,Frances. You have proved once again how dangerous garden can be! I was startled just reading that the tree feel in the wrong direction! So glad you are unscathed! I enjoyed reading the original Ferngully story. A fine tree, who will be dearly missed, and used as compost for Fergully Replacement, πŸ˜‰ a lovey tale with a very complete ending. I hope Ferngully replacement grows tall and strong.

    Thanks Lzyjo. Glad you enjoyed hearing the story of Ferngully. We already miss his presence in that spot. FG II is growing nicely, offering some shade with excellent fall color. But a mere shadow of FG I. πŸ™‚

  4. We gardeners sure live a wild and dangerous life! I’m sorry Ferny finally died… but at least its demise served for inspiration for the photo contest.

    Thanks Monica. The photo contest topic seemed to fit right in with what had to done with FG. πŸ™‚

  5. Rose says:

    A great photo for the contest, Frances, but the story of Ferngully is even better. I did click over to see him in his original glory. It’s so sad to lose a big, beautiful tree like this, isn’t it? It’s not something that can be replaced as easily as an azalea bush. Glad to know you weren’t hurt in the demise of Ferngully. Your garden seems to be an exciting place full of possible danger–rat snakes, climbing ladders to reach tall plants, and now falling trees! Take care, Frances!

    Thanks Rose. It’s really about the story instead of photos with this one. Glad you saw the post showing him in his magnificence. I do need to be more careful out there. πŸ™‚

  6. Good morning Frances, how sad to see Ferngully coming to his end…. the king has passed away… new life to the king!!!
    Nothing dies, thereΒ΄s only transformation…
    MarΓ­a Cecilia

    You are so sweet, Maria, thanks. And wise, transformation is a good thing. πŸ™‚

  7. Gail says:

    Oh, Ferngully, we hardly knew you~ Which is true~ You blogged about Ferngully before I discovered your Royalness;) He was a magnificent and marvelous Nurse Tree. It’s good to know that his bounty will continue to bless the garden…Good luck in the photo contest~~ See you soon! gail

    Hi Gail. I had only a few loyal readers and family when the Ferngully story first aired. I have given links to that post so many times it’s a wonder there is anyone left who doesn’t know more than they want to know about him. Thanks for the good wishes. I am counting the hours….

  8. Teresa says:

    wow! What a story, I was at the edge of my seat. I love to hear the passion you felt about your old tree. It is always sad to lose one, rotted or not. All of your photos are great and really show your story. Good luck in the contest.

    Thanks Teresa. I guess I was passionate about him. I was thrilled to have him when we bought the property. There were low limbs that gave so much shade, wonderful. Thanks for the luck in the contest. It is highly unlikely that will win, but it does fit the theme. πŸ™‚

  9. ourfriendben says:

    Alas, poor Ferngully! I can certainly appreciate why you kept his remains propped up. On our route to our CSA, we pass a decaying tree. The remains of one large branch protrude over the road and look exactly like a big wooden carving of an alligator head! It’s the most amazing thing, and a joy to me every time I see it, but like all good things, I know that this too must pass, and one spring I’ll take that road and find no alligator waiting for me. Sob! And, er, sad as I am for poor Mary, I can only say, thank God the trunk didn’t fall on Admiral Semmes!!! Or, obviously, on you. That leap over the shrubs must have been quite something—worthy of the Olympics or at least the Highland Games. It’s amazing what we can do when we must!

    So true, OFB, thanks. Large tree remains can be quite dangerous, you never know when that last strand will rot away and a big chunk will get you. The loss of the Admiral would have been a real shame, he is the best azalea growing here. I do think Mary will regrow, but she was just getting to a nice size. Highland games, how funny! It is amazing that I chose the correct way to leap, not the usual at all. Like when we meet someone going down the aisle at the grocer’s, I will always choose the same way as they do, and we have to do a little do si do and smile with embarrassment.

  10. Frances, will you please promise to ask for help next time you tackle something as big as taking down a tree? You are lucky you didn’t twist an ankle or worse shrub jumping. I’m sorry to see old Ferngully go, but at least it can live on in the garden as mulch.
    Your entry in this month’s photo contest is quite a departure from your usual style. I’ve never considered my power poles as good subjects for a photo, but you’ve shown how even that can be artistic. Good job.

    Thanks MMD, but that is a promise I cannot keep. I am here alone most of the time and waiting for help is not my style. The remains of FG is so rich and dark brown, lovely humus. I thought your own entry a sure winner. But mine does follow the theme too. πŸ™‚

  11. rosey pollen says:

    It was good that you weren’t seriously injured! Too bad about Azaleas. Maybe they will come back with a vengeance next year.
    Taking down old trees can be dangerous but necessary evil.

    Thanks Rosey. I am fine, if lucky. The azalea was knocked back, but should regrow, I hope. Poor Ferngully. A tree of that size is a great loss. Too bad it was the only one on the property besides the pines and smaller silver maple. We needed his shade.

  12. Lona says:

    Good morning Frances. Well you did all you could for Ferngully πŸ˜‰ It will make some great compost though. I hate change though, I get use to seeing something around for years and then something happens to throw it all out of whack. (The old dog, new tricks syndrome) πŸ˜‰ You plant things to go under, around, upon and over then you have to rethink and move stuff. Stubborn tree to the end huh? Glad you did not get squashed. Fast on your feet you say πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Lona. I hate change too, but things keep changing anyway, dadgum it! I do love moving plants in the garden. Figuring out what to put in the FG will be fun. Very rich and crumbly humus in there. I am anything but fast on my feet, I guess the danger at hand helped them move the right direction. πŸ™‚

  13. linda says:

    My condolences on the loss of Ferngully Frances.

    As I read I was thinking ‘oh no, please don’t tell me you’re going to take Ferngully out by yourself.’ The only thing slowing down the old ticker was knowing you wrote this post afterwards. I’m so glad you weren’t hurt Frances. This is quite a dramatic entry for the End of the Line photo contest – good luck with your entry.

    Thanks Linda. It was not a good idea to do that by myself. I am lucky with the way it turned out. But at least he is down and can do no harm to my family now. I spent today cleaning up the area. That is some mighty fine humus he turned into. Thanks for the good wishes for the photo contest. I can never tell what they are looking for on those things. πŸ™‚

  14. Pam/Digging says:

    Hmm, maybe the royal “we” should be a true “we” when you’re climbing ladders and knocking over big tree trunks, Frances. I’m glad you didn’t get squashed! So sorry to see Ferngully go, but you got a nice picture out of it.

    Thanks Pam. You sound like my husband. Ferngully was rarely photographed, he wasn’t very colorful. I never thought to look up at the sky with him in the shot until his last moments standing. πŸ™‚

  15. Sorry to hear about the loss of your old friend. Now, Ferngully lives on in mythology, which has a far longer lifespan, when you think about it. A story well told, and fortunately for all of us you didn’t get squashed in the making of it.

    Thanks Helen, that is a good way to look at it. I often think about how long these posts will live on the internet? Is there a time limit, an expiration date? When the link no longer functions? If we don’t pay up to somebody or other?

  16. Catherine says:

    Sounds like Ferngully was given more of a chance than most trees are when they are taken down. At least his trunk was there for years for the birds and insects. Now it can feed the plants around where it once was. Our neighbors took a huge maple down 2 years ago and left a large stump like FG. I always wondered why they’ve left it, maybe it had sentimental meaning to them too.

    Hi Catherine. I don’t know why we left the large stump. It was just cool looking to me and it was sentimental, such a majestic tree. I figured the stump could not fall and hurt anyone like the big branches could when we knew it had died. It didn’t last as long as we thought it would though. The woodpeckers and insects really worked their magic on turning it into humus quickly.

  17. Hi Frances,

    Well, it is always sad to lose an old friend. I am thankful you weren’t hurt when he decided to take a detour to his final resting place. What a great entry for End of the Line and a tribute to Ferngully.

    Hi Noelle, thanks. The loss of a mature tree is a time of great sadness. The final collapse of the trunk was the end of his being upright. He now will nourish the soil. πŸ™‚

  18. Sweet Bay says:

    Ferngully had a good run, a beautiful tree before the decline.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. He led a good life. I don’t think a single branch had ever been cut.


  19. vwgarden says:

    Oh my goodness, what adventures you have in your garden, Frances! It’s always a good idea to stay out of the way of racing cars and falling trees . . . good job!
    How sad to lose your tree and friend. I don’t care about the circle of life at such times, I just want my pretty tree/plant/etc. back!

    Thanks VW. I might make it more exciting than it needs to be around here. I do wish Ferngully was standing and healthy, but it was not to be. Someday his replacement might do so, fed by the humus remains of FG I. πŸ™‚

  20. Frances, You do have some of the most unusual adventures! πŸ˜‰ Glad to know you weren’t hurt!! Landscapes are always changing. It will be interesting to see what you do here.

    Hi Shady, thanks, it does seem that way, never a dull moment. I have already cleared the area except for one big hulking piece that is too heavy for me to move. It will have to wait until the family comes to help. The soil is amazing there. πŸ™‚

  21. Frances have you plum lost your mind? What were you thinking pushing over a huge rotten tree trunk like that when two or more young strong men will be visiting you shortly. Have I mentioned my crushed right leg still hurts a bit from the 650 pounds of drywall that fell on it when the weight sent it in the opposite direction of my intentions. Guess what the lesson learned was. Patience is a virtue, ie wait for help.

    Apparently the answer to your first question is yes. I am very impatient, a grave minus in my personality makeup. It was supposed to fall back, not forward. And was much larger than I had imagined, even nearly rotten all the way through. I did think of you after I was able to jump out of the way. It would have badly broken my leg for sure, if not worse. I do hope you are healing now and able to enjoy the fall before the snow falls.

  22. Amy Emerick says:

    As I read your post I was reminded of the book, The Giving Tree. Always sad to loose a beautiful tree.

    Thanks Amy, that is a favorite book of our family and the whole thing reminded my very much of that story as well. πŸ™‚

  23. Jean says:

    Wow, a real end of the line, that’s for sure. Very sad but it sounds like Ferngully led a good life. I agree this photo contest was a little tricky!

    Thanks, Jean. I cannot ever tell what the judges are looking for in these contests, but the month’s topic was the most challenging. I suppose any photo could be interpreted as end of the line if it has something linear in it. Ferngully’s story needed to be told, so it seemed as good a subject as any for the photo contest. I liked your entry! πŸ™‚

  24. Kate says:

    Poor Ferngully… 😦 I’m glad you didn’t get hurt. I’m impatient, too, plus I just love to meddle with stuff like that. I would not have had the willpower to wait for someone else to take down the beloved tree.

    Thanks Kate. Being that impatient is not always a good thing, but that trait also allows us to accomplish much. πŸ™‚

  25. Joanne says:

    Sad to loose a dear friend but nature moves on and other opportunities present. A great entry for the photo competition.

    Thanks Joanne. Onward, as we like to say. The area has been somewhat cleaned up and we are now contemplating what should be planted, if anything in the spot where FG once stood. That is some rich humus! πŸ™‚

  26. Lola says:

    Poor Ferngully, he will be missed but has in the meantime furnished Fairgardener with such a richness that much time has caused. I’m glad you were able to remove yourself from harm. That was a dangerous undertaking.
    I do wish you the best of luck.

    Thanks Lola. You should see what FG has left behind to nourish the garden, pretty good stuff. When my family comes for Thanksgiving we will get the mens to move the last large piece out of the way to decay the rest of the way. I can’t even budge it now, no adrenalin left.

  27. We had to take out a huge maple that was in our back yard because it was rotting from within and leaning towards the house. The stump took a long time to rot out, and the flickers just loved it. Now that spot is where the new strawberry bed is. Even though I knew it had to come out because of the menace to our home, it just tore me up to lose that tree. And we hadn’t even named it. I can imagine how you feel about Ferngully’s demise.

    When we had the ice storm three years ago it took me months to recover from the depression that all the ravaged trees in our yard gave me.

    Now, enjoy all that wonderful compost and your family visiting you.

    Hi Hands, thanks. I am sorry about your tree too, that is exactly what had happened to FG. You could feel that it was soft inside and when the leaves all fell off prematurely we knew he had to come down or there would be damage to other houses besides our own. Your strawberry bed is in a prime location and will surely benefit from the tree roots decaying beneath. We do feel the trees are kindred spirits. πŸ™‚

  28. Frances I am so glad you included the link to your fabulous Maple tree… What a presence he had in your garden… beautiful tree. Must have been hard to lose him in the first place and then the final falling… the compost will be appreciated. I have two hundred year plus maples too that are cabled and sadly one near the house lost a large limb last winter in an ice storm… pretty scary as they loom over the house… I am having work done on them any day now. I was so struck by your photo of the maple with lichen and the fennel in front… that is truly a stunning photo. I am a bit confused… you bought your next door neighbors house for your garage?? Your garage had a crush on it or you used the house as your new garage? Or maybe I just read the whole thing wrong… it being 3AM in the morning. Love the new photos too. Sad about all those trees dying. From the looks of yours he had a long life. Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks. I am glad you went back to learn the whole story here. As for the garage story, we bought the house next door, it was a one bedroom cinder block house and demolished it. The land was leveled somewhat and we built the garage with a loft space above. A couple of years after, when our finances recovered somewhat from that expense, we attached the main house to the garage with an addition. We did live in the one bedroom house during the last stages of the main house renovation and our daughter Semi lived in it briefly before moving to Knoxville and getting on with her life. When our finances recovered from the reno, we built the garage. Sorry I am not able to make it more clear, but the only crushing was done by the big bucket on the back hoe. πŸ™‚

  29. Janet says:

    Good morning Frances, What a shame to lose such a grand structure in your garden. You are darn lucky not to have been hit with it as it came down!
    Good thing to get it down before the family comes for Thanksgiving.

    Hi Janet, thanks. It was very sad to lose FG and all the wonderful shade he provided for wildflowers and hydrangeas in that corner of the garden. Lucky I was, but now the family will be safe. That is the most important thing. πŸ™‚

  30. joey says:

    As you well know, Frances, all good things must come to an end … I still miss the 6 old elms that had to be removed almost 30 years ago because of Dutch elm disease. My gardens/yard have changed over the years but I still long for my old friends.

    Hi Joey, how sad for your loss of those old Elms, most wonderful majestic trees. That kind of presence cannot be replicated in a human lifetime.

  31. Beckie says:

    Frances, what a story! Ferngully will be missed, but will live on in your story and your gardening heart.

    Love the selected photo-good luck. But, and this is a big but!!, you must be more careful and less do it yourself in the garden. What would we do with out you??

    Hi Beckie, thanks, you are so sweet. I will be more careful, that was quite a scare. The offspring will be here soon to help with the moving of what is left of FG to its final resting place. There is still one large trunk intact that is way bigger than I am.

  32. Melody says:

    Great pic! BTW, Fran replied and said that they were using the first pic. You might want to set them straight. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Melody, I do appreciate that, and welcome. I have left another comment telling them it is the last photo, but if they use the first one that is okay. I had a hard time deciding between the two. Neither are likely winners. πŸ™‚

  33. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” – thank heavens your royal We-ness (Lisa’s name is toooo good) was around each time Ferngully was diminished, Frances, so we could all hear the sound.

    Good luck with the photo contest!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, so nice to see you here and thanks for visiting. I actually thought about taking the tree falling in the forest angle for the post, then forgot as I was writing it. Lisa is a card, isn’t she? HA The photo contest this month is a topic I don’t understand very well, but what do I know? πŸ™‚

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