Demise of an Old Friend


I am sad . . . I lost an old friend an hour ago. Over by my studio there lived an ancient willow tree. The state forest service said it was the largest and possibly the oldest willow in Connecticut. It would take 8 people – arms outstretched – to encircle this mighty champion. The willow had lost limbs through the years but, low and behold, slender new growth would emerge. I always said that even if this tree lost every  branch, I would keep its gnarled  trunk as a piece of sculpture. Willows, beloved of gardeners and poets, do not typically have a long life span, but this one seemed destined for the record book, until today, when we had huge winds.  Barely 30 seconds after Teddy Bear (my Wheaton Terrier) and I had crossed in front of the tree, I heard a horrible crash.  I turned and saw that half of my lovely willow had collapsed to the ground, destroying a nice old corn crib in the process.

I love trees.  To me they are soulful companions as well as inspiring symbols of growth, decay, and resurrection.  When I see wonderful old specimens go down I always think about what they have lived through and what they could tell us.  For example, battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in our region of Connecticut and the owner of Weatherstone raised a regiment for the Continental Army.  Did this tree shade a battle ground or give cover to a soldier?  This old guy, my dear friend for decades, will  be sorely missed from his place at the top of my shade garden.


8 thoughts on “Demise of an Old Friend

  1. So sorry for your loss. I have many trees and tree roses, particularly my Yves Piaget roses, and it is indeed sad even to prune, as they are all living things, giving joy and living through history with the rest of us. I’m excited that your website is back up. Thank you for sharing the beauty of our world with each of us.

  2. Oh dear, look at that. Commiserations Carolyne. We lost a huge maple in our garden in Oxfordshire a couple of years ago. It seems too light and airy now. Bet it’s the same for you.

  3. Hello Carolyne!
    So sorry to hear about your beloved tree. As a garden designer, I know and love all of the plants in my gardens, and I paricularly love my trees, and so I do have some understanding of how you must have felt. Also, so grateful that neither you nor anyone you love was injured when it crashed down….!
    Keep up the great work that you do. I have bought many of your books and send them to friends at Christmas. Lovely! It certainly requires a lot of work to get together material for a book, ( I have just finished writing my first gardening book ) and I do appreciate all of the wonderful effort that you make to bring us the beauty that you see surrounding you.
    Sincere thanks,
    Susan Wheeler ( White Rock, B.C. Canada )

  4. What a beautiful tree! Such a sad loss. In the last few years I too have lost some lovely old trees so I understand your sorrow. The remedy is to plant more and think of those in decades to come who will love the tree. For farmers and gardeners, tomorrow has a special meaning.

  5. We have lost a number of very large, very mature trees on our property at Darlington House over the years. I will always remember them with reverance and awe. Each time one was lost has been wrenching if not heart-breaking. Our last was an enormous, highly robust 150 year old oak tree that was literally lifted out of the ground and thrown on our neighbor’s property by a freak tornado. I thought it would take dynamite to budge it, but the storm lifted it up by the roots as if it were a matchstick. The clean up was staggering, and the hole left in the landscape can never be filled — at least in my lifetime. Large, mature trees are the cathedrals of our landscape, I believe… Reggie

  6. I adore my trees and we have lost so many due to root problems, fungus, etc. It is painful I know exactly how you feel. I have had the pleasure of walking on your property thanks to Trade Secrets. It is a dream and I know your trees are beautiful. So sorry Carolyne.

  7. My wife and i felt really ecstatic Ervin could carry out his researching through the entire precious recommendations he discovered from your own site. It’s not at all simplistic to just happen to be giving freely points which usually the others may have been selling. And we take into account we have you to be grateful to for this. The entire illustrations you made, the easy site menu, the relationships your site make it possible to

  8. So sad. We have lost several grand old trees on our property over the years. It is really heartbreaking to see them broken & lying on the ground. I shutter every time a storm is predicted.
    Replant, replant, replant…for the next generation.

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