We could go down a lot of different gravel paths with this title, let there be no doubt, but we have chosen this time to name and show things in threes that I have noticed as spring tries to emerge from its winter-ish wrappings while out and about in this small, Southeast Tennessee town. So be brave and continue reading, for after the badness comes the goodness. (Above irrelevant shot of maple tree in bloom.)
Although I try to avert my eyes, almost to a tree are the hacked upon by professionals, if being referred to as a professional means someone pays you good money to commit this atrocity, poor dear crape myrtles, Lagerstroemia indica. This topic has been discussed ad nauseum in blog posts, magazine articles and social media by gardeners who know better than to commit the crime of crape murder. Yet, there it is, slapping me in the face from private yards and commercial green space that is a requirement of our city in order to have beauty in a sea of concrete. Ack, argh and yikes is my reaction. Such sublime trees, the limbs sprinkled with cinnamon as the bark peels and curls to reveal silvery young skin underneath. What a pity.
Moving on to the next horrible thing, the trek was made in the gas guzzler around town to pick the most glaring mistake in the realm of gardening, public and private. We saw the obscenity of volcano mulching, the piling on of mulch up against the trunks of trees into a cone shape with the tree spewing from the center. Bad on so many levels, this has been discussed and dissed by television programs, garden writers both in print and online and the powerful Facebook/Twitter crowd. How is this still happening? There was poor placement of trees and shrubs that were not given proper spacing to grow to their full potential and so have to be continually pruned back hard to keep them from blocking sidewalks or eating buildings. So much from which to choose, but it was the colored mulch that is so offensive that it causes stomach queasiness that was to be the second appalling thing. No matter the color, although the red is the most offensive to these eyes, dyed to an unnatural color to prevent the mulch from fading to the natural color of decomposing wood is a crime against nature, a totally unwarranted use of chemicals. Icky-poo.
Winning the dubious honor for most horrible of all cutting crimes has to be the tree pruning done by the utility in order to keep the power lines free from falling tree limbs. In some parts of town, newer homes in fancy, a relative term if ever there was one, subdivisions have solved the tree limb/electrical line problem with underground installations. We even paid to have our electric lines buried and a pole installed at the property edge in the big renovation of our present home in 2000. But we are a lone island of underground, for every other wire is strung across tall poles that dot the landscape in my center city neighborhood, including ones that eventually feed to Fairegarden. There are mature trees in our neighborhood, things of beauty for this is an older part of town. Or they were things of beauty until this atrocity was perpetrated. This large Southern Magnolia grandiflora makes my heart cry out in painful dismay at its decapitation.
It might sound as though this is a hellish place in which to live. Far from it. In recent years there have been new projects around town that make my heart sing with gladness. At the public library, in what was formerly a flood plain, a water retention pond has been built with an arbor and benches on higher ground for public enjoyment. Native trees, shrubs and perennials have been planted and it promises to be wonderful. There is signage all about to explain what and why to the curious. It will be grand. Look at the pile of boulders that were excavated from the site, to be used as artful decor in the finished ecosystem. Drool.
Just a few blocks away is a corner of food plantings in a formerly vacant lot. Last fall there was machinery used to plow planting strips and posts set in place for grapes and raspberries. Blueberries and fruit trees have filled the space with promise of a yummy future. (Please forgive the illustrating image, this was a true drive by shooting, for this plot lies at the corner of an intersection of two major arteries. Turning and clicking is not my forte.)
Last year, sidewalks were installed by the city along many streets to make this a walking friendly place. Concrete was used in most instances but beautiful paving stones were laid by hand along the large tree shaded main thoroughfare nearer to my house. Daily, walkers can be seen taking advantage of the paved walkways. I have used them myself and can vouch for the friendliness. So in truth, three horrible things and three wonderful things sort of offset each other, the yin yang of Asian philosophy, as with all things.
This post is being offered as part of the OOTS series, Out On The Streets, sponsored by my dear, in real life since we have met face to face twice now, in Malvern, UK and in Seattle, USA, friend VP, Michelle of Veg Plotting.