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The Make-Good

April 22, 2010

Touch of honey

Ever make a big mistake in the garden, one everyone can see? We did, when we instructed our contractor to put in the walkway you see above. He warned us that doing so would damage a nearby tree’s root structures. But we figured the tree had been there so long it would withstand whatever minimal damage the installation would cause. So, we told him not to worry and gave him the go ahead. Wrong. Soon after the walkway went in we noticed that the once lovely tree was in serious trouble. It lost its leaves, then seemed to have died. We held out hope and kept looking for signs of life. None appeared. Its yellow-green leafy canopy was no more, and its branches turned black and brittle. I was against removing the tree, and for a time tried to train a bougainvillea to grow into it; repurposing it as a trellis of sorts. Then the bougainvillea died, too. Argh! … The tree being in the front yard and at the front door, we began to look for a tree to replace it. The dead tree had become a mocking reminder of our bad decision and was bumming us out. With the party coming this weekend the search for a replacement tree became more urgent and at Paradise Garden Center, we found it: a gorgeous gleditsia, or honey locust. Here’s the process we took — with the help of Steve at Paradise — to make up for our error in judgement …

Paradise is a huge nursery, with row after row of great trees, but the yellow foliage of the honey locust really stood out. Color aside, we loved its graceful presence and lacy canopy. Choosing a 24″ container-sized version, we waited to hear when we could take delivery. Then over the weekend Steve called and said he’d found a larger, 36″ tree at a nearby grower, and we should check it out before we finalized delivery. So, Monday we met him at Paradise and he drove us over to the grower’s wholesale acreage. And, we found our tree! It had the brilliant yellow foliage we wanted and was a lot taller than the 24″ version (important when you’re in your golden years, like we are). But could we get it delivered and installed in time for the party? We could — on Wednesday — a full 3 days before fiesta time — perfect!

Removing a mistake

In spite of rain Wednesday morning, the Paradise crew showed up with a huge truck carrying a Bobcat-style tractor; with a smaller truck carrying our tree. From top left, clockwise: The crew loosened the soil around the base of the dead tree; then using the tractor they lifted the tree from the ground. It was surreal seeing them roll the entire tree out of the yard and into the street for breaking up. Having moved our new tree off the smaller truck, they loaded the now-denuded dead tree’s trunk and branches, and took it away.

The make-good...

From top left, clockwise: Even in the gray rainy morning’s light the honey-colored foliage is an eye-catcher; seen in its 36″ wooden box the tree’s full height looks to be well over 20-feet; using the tractor the tree is brought over the spot the dead tree stood in. Breaking up the box and removing the sides, the tree is lowered into the pre-dug hole. Using a mixture of soil from the site, along with amendments they brought with them, the crew fills in at the base of the tree. Flanking the tree, two sturdy stakes are added for support. These will be in place for a time until the tree is firmly rooted.  The crew returned everything to its place (they had moved potted containers, shifted gravel, etc.), presented the invoice (not cheap, but totally worth it) and we thanked them for their professionalism and attention to detail.

For almost a year we had to live with the visual reminder of our error. But now look: we have a beautiful tree at the front door that is welcoming and complements the house and landscaping — maybe even better than the previous one. Because of  his devotion to personal service, and his crew’s efficiency, Steve at Paradise Garden Center has ensured that the party will start on a high-note — with high-energy color — right at the front door!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    April 22, 2010 2:33 pm

    I love your yard! I love the desert scene, Wow!!!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 22, 2010 2:34 pm

      Thanks, Mary… see you soon and Happy Earth Day!

  2. April 22, 2010 2:39 pm

    What a gorgeous choice of tree!!! Neat process to watch…out with the old…in with the new!
    Happy Earth Day today!!!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 22, 2010 2:52 pm

      Happy Earth Day to you, too … I was sad about the old tree, but do love the new one!

  3. foodguy permalink
    April 22, 2010 8:52 pm

    i thought you called in sick yesterday.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 22, 2010 9:58 pm

      You would try and rat me out! I’m on a vacay…

  4. Megan permalink
    April 23, 2010 1:24 am

    The new tree looks great!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 25, 2010 9:32 pm

      We’re really enjoying it, loved your pic on the ‘Succulent Sunday’ post… but I want more pictures!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 27, 2010 3:54 pm

      One of our best decisions ever!

  5. Elizabeth Han permalink
    April 24, 2010 4:07 pm

    How nice that you gave a shout-out to the Paradise Garden Center crew. And I like your descriptive language (“lacy canopy”). Your love of trees comes through.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 25, 2010 9:33 pm

      Thanks, Elizabeth, it’s really such a nice color spot at the front of the house.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 27, 2010 3:54 pm

      Paradise is just so service-oriented; they’re great to work with!

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