How to begin?
It finally happened. It had to.
He was hanging on by a thread, er bungee cord.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.