plight of the ancient Forsythia's, and a gardener's thoughts

The verdict is out, the evidence is laid out before me like some old man carnage. I have to give the old coot credit.........for someone with prostrate cancer, and lord knows what else ails him (and according to some...he was a real mean old bastard most of his life, stealing cows and moving property lines and such trivial but important stuff in rural Tennessee area's) he sure did make mince meat of those 148 year old Forsythia's.
I discovered their general age when speaking to Miz Mary. She confirmed that her grandmother had planted them (and she's in her mid 70's) and her sister, Trula had given her shoots from it when they moved into the house with her husband 70 years prior. Still...148 year old Forsythia's are impressive. It took him two days to hack at the rootballs.
This morning as I drove out to take care of errands of aggrivation, I saw in the morning light that there were stubbs sticking out like really bad hair from each remaining bush. Each mound of spikes were double bushel basket width. Huge. The piles of brush and a dead tree were pushed up into the yard (which is enormous) and he had scrapped along and between each bush which was about 20 foot between them.
This afternoon when I came back to change and get the dogs and go back and get Squire, I saw that he'd gone back and utilized the beautiful day I had missed (to garden) and had finished cutting the stems to the ground and was hacking around the root ball tops. He's probably going to hook up chains to pull the stumps out, and scrape it from there.
I understand that he hated them, and only liked the flowers they produced, but if it didn't bloom all summer, he wanted rid of it. Or something like that. Because he actually does like regular gardening after being a farmer and planting crops every year. He's totally redone his wife's front flower bed and it's interesting. He cleans things out more and doesn't allow for debris. I just wish he could have seen the beauty of these old Forsythia's in the seasons they had. They were truely four season bushes because even when the burgundy fall leaves finally fell off, the stems would be literally loaded with thousands of buds for the spring's flowers. Ah well, everything comes to an end eventually. Although I've actually seen ancient Forsythia's where other homesteads have fallen over when all you saw were daffodils, lilac's, mock oranges, huge Forsythia's and Quince bushes remaining in overgrown yards with sagging, tired houses.
It's still very rural around here and you often see the older, run down homestead near a clump of old trees and somewhere else where the pastures and hillsides are clearer, the newer home that was built later on. I always love to walk thru these old, ancient homes (if allowed) and if they're not too rotten (they're all pretty sturdy despite their age of many, many decades) and see what was left behind. I've found old, old, thick clay pots that will not flake and crack from freezing because they made them to last back then. But I haven't happened across something like that in 13 years.
Well, anyway, I've gone on enough about these Forsythia's. It's very probably that the ones that I had, (I have one remaining) or rather, I dug up one of the two huge old Forsytha's at the entrance to Jim Wine's property which were most likely more than the 36 years I thought. According to Miz Mary, I was able to excavate a Forsythia that in actuality was more like 92 years in age, since her brother James was the one who inherited the back piece of land to farm on and live. Apparently his wife, Lilly, took cuttings from the ones that the old man is removing completely, and planted them at the front entrance of their property along side of the driveway that was gouged out by a tractor, over time.
I have one original one left, and there is a great, great, grand daughter shrublet I planted from THIS one I tucked into my woods that I hope will be here long after I am gone. Where I put it, no one will think of tearing it out unless by then they've cut down all the trees in the woods in the holler......and the way the land lies, a house wouldn't be prudent down there......so there you go........unless we have disease or something harsh, I've ensured that the daughter of ancient Forsythia's will live on up on this hillside! <g>
Thanks for bearing with me... after the cold front moves through (and possibly even then if it's not too wet) I'm going to jump back into the vinca pit until every teesy bit is gone. No composting, no leaving "just one" clump for "the flowers". ALL of it. I will update you when it's GONE. Until then, it will be early spring arrivers from here on.........the catalogs are still coming, only not as thick as before. A nice thick, Forest farm that is 554 pages and no pictures, a teaser of the new Heronswood that promises pictures for the first time, a much needed Gardens Alive!, I see other ones I wish had come, not here........Sunlight Gardens, High Country Gardens (I love Xeriscaping)even the Dutch Garden's spring book has hit my box already.
This year will be cuttings, cleaning, and possibly for the first time since I started spouting off about doing this, I will redo the front fairy gardens that were the original plantings 11 years ago. With all this vinca removal and exposing rotted timbers and such, I think it's time I lay down a more defined idea of what I want out there.
I'm always trying to shove another sun worshiper in a crowded spot, because that long bed is the one totally exposed to the South and Western sunlight. I never had room because I planted the whole bed in such haste when we first moved here. Through the 11 years things have come and gone, and the garden has some bones and things that are consistant, but there are also things I can remove and make better room for something I would move to the better position. There are two purple loosestrife that I dislike enormously, and the only one I like has never seeded a daughter or given me problems, and it's the one the Japanese beetles devour first when they hatch.
There are some other tweeks I think I'll finally get courage to do (I just hated messing with the overall chaos of the flower bed, it seemed to work just fine) and when I get everything done, I will be pleased to tell you about it. (run away now before I get it done and write about that experience LOL)
I hope your Friday the 13th goes well, and that there aren't many who suffer from triskaidekaphobia. You can breath easier after midnight (and it appears to be almost a full moon too <g>)
madgardener up on the chilly ridge (we're now expecting snow in the upper elevations) back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee where it got up to 68o F today!.
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<snip>
......the catalogs are still coming, only

I received my Heronswood catalogue a couple of weeks ago and the pictures are nice but it doesn't have nearly as many entries as the old (no picture) catalogue did.
<snip>
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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that's a shame :( maddie zone 7 Sunset zone 36
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Those Forsythias might have the final say - mine have revived from suckers many times!
On 1/12/06 6:51 PM, in article 43c6e25d snipped-for-privacy@news.vic.com, "madgardener"

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wrote: of that I sincerely hope so roflmao maddie
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On 1/13/06 4:28 PM, in article 43c81308 snipped-for-privacy@news.vic.com, "madgardener"

Me too!
Cheryl
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Wonderful story, madgardener, Thank you so much for sharing
Anthony B.

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thank YOU Anthony......<g> sometimes it's just nice to share.........
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writes

--
Kay

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my pleasure, sugar! <gbseg> maddie

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madgardener .prune.whack.
my pleasure, sugar! gbseg maddie snipped-for-privacy@scarboro.demon.co.uk wrote in message And thank you, Mad, for snipping :-) -- Kay
i hope that the forsythia have the final say as well i couldnt imagin taking down anything as beautiful as those bushes must have been whe they flowered or otherwise they earnt the honour of living there i they were there for as many years as they were. so heres to the forsythia winning out lol. hugssss sockiescat
-- sockiescat
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But you really didn't need to post the whole thing again!! Spare a thought for those of us who use the space bar to jump from post to post.
--
Kay

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