Well, hello my friends!
Have you survived the first fun part of the holidays? I dare say I have, but I have to admit that I’m still recovering! HA!
I’m in the thick of holiday shopping… well, no wait… does making a list count? I have purchased all sorts of things and have no idea where they will go. Do you do this? I’m like cute, cute, cute and then Dec. 23rd I’m surrounded by boxes that need to be organized. Gulp.
Anyway, to really deplete the cash drawer we decided to change out the very large and very beautiful birch tree that graced our front yard for the last 12 years.
Like we had a choice.
You guys. She died. And it’s been a few months now that I’ve been mourning her passing – enough so, that I feel I can finally talk about it. If I tell you that this tree made me love my home before walking into the door, I wouldn’t be lying. She was stunning. I even carved my husband and my initials into the tree so that years from now… sigh…
When we painted the exterior in (gasp, where does the time go???) 2015, the birch looked like this… and she continued looking like so until the summer of this year. She just never really bloomed and it was short lived, and then all her leaves were gone, and then… sob, sob… she was I. Can’t. Even. Say. It.
Last week before we trimmed all the trees and laid Mrs. Birchie down to rest, here’s what I was staring at every day.
Maybe I was hoping that one small leaf would appear and magically she would come back to us.
Turns out that in my neighborhood birch trees are dying like flies… like one nursery told me it’s an EPIDEMIC. Another one told me that they only live about 10 years. And yet another said that no one would buy his birch trees because they are so finicky and he would basically give one to me for free. Why isn’t this in a newspaper? Birch tree epidemic in Southern California!
So the quest for a new tree ensued and it was rough. Unless you want to spend a bunch of money on a tree that may or may not like living in your yard, you’re pretty much stuck with something that’s about 8-9 feet tall. I knew that I would never be able to replace Birchie, so why not go a different route? I wanted flowers, low maintenance, and low water… maybe a tree that changed with the seasons…
Here were some that I looked at and loved-
The leaves of this tree are GORGEOUS and I loved the idea of the color interest in the front yard. But I didn’t pick it because they are really, really small and take a long time to grow. They can also be a bit particular. That being said, I became quite obsessed with this tree and may just put it on my Christmas list. A 24 gallon was about $280.
Here is a tree that would grow quickly, and wouldn’t need much water. Yes! With the right pruning, I would get the sparseness I desired and the sculptural quality I was after. And no mess, cool leaves year around… yup, this tree has a lot going for it. But in the end, I felt it looked a bit too desert for the front, however I would certainly consider this tree for other areas of the house. One of the cheapest of the bunch I could get a larger 35 gal for $250, or 24gal for $165.
Evergreen Pear Tree
This tree looks like THIS in the spring! I mean, can you even?! It’s beautiful and it’s green much of the year, but loses it’s leaves in the winter. So, no, it’s not exactly evergreen. Go figure. A hardy tree, I wouldn’t have trouble maintaining it, though it would need a good trimming every year or so to keep it from getting too bushy. But these babies can get pretty big and I didn’t want a huge ol tree to deal with in 10+ years… so no to the pear. Though my twins loved this one the most. For a 24 gal it’s very reasonably priced at $180-225.
So, what did I get?
Can I just say that I’m so weird. Ok, now we’re clear.
I kept saying that I wanted something different. Unique. Not a tree that everyone and their mother has. Well… I did quite the opposite.
Can you even see her there? She’s a white bark Crepe Myrtle. I got a 24 gal for $125 and honestly, I was really drawn to the tree. A week before I almost bought one for over $600 because it was so big and beautiful, but then this lovely fell right into my lap.
She has 4 trunks… One singe, then a twin, then another single. Just like my boys.
Ain’t that just the darnedest?! So, she’s short and not very tall but I love her. Maybe I will call her Jessica 2.
In the spring she’ll flower like so,
and then her leaves with redden in the fall/winter. Ironically, there are crepe myrtles ALL over my city and they are thriving. I just know that this tree will be healthy and live a long life here, and that’s worth a lot to me. I asked the landscapers about watering and maintenance, and he was like, just water regularly, nothing extra, these are super easy to care for. Finally, something that I can just enjoy.
You can see here the we also lost 1 of our pines. They trimmed the other one and we are hoping to save it – it’s looking a little sad and dry these days.
In the top shots of the house you can see those ginormous trees in the background, which are also on our lot. Those got haircuts as well and there is another new tree in the back. I’ll save those photos for later.
Progress? Sometimes we have to do things that we really don’t want to do (like get rid of a much beloved tree) but once we take care of it, a weight is somehow lifted. With this new little tree, we have something new to look forward to… the flowers in the spring! And I, for one, can’t wait.