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
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
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!.