Meet the Departed

It was sheer magic for me when I was home at Kilbourne Grove, even with all the weeding. I was very happy to see how much plants had grown over the summer, but there were a couple of casualties as well.

Why are they always one of a group? It just makes it so much hard to have a uniform presence, I know, don’t tell me, the magic of Mother Nature. I am sure that everyone knows I am trying to start a pleached lime walk at Kilbourne Grove. It was planted in 2009, you can read about that here. I planted the bare root dormant Tilia early that spring and one never developed its leaf buds. So in 2010 I replaced that tree, and as they came in lots of 5, added to the length of the walk. This spring, despite all leafing out and looking wonderful, when I returned in August, one had dead leaves.

 It was the smallest of them all, and had been struggling to grow. And now has failed. I am at a bit of a loss as what to do now, I can order 5 more trees from Yesterdays Garden, but only need one, and certainly can not extend it any more. I did read somewhere that professional gardeners will heel extra trees in somewhere, in case of a tree dying in an avenue. Then they have one at hand to replant. How many years could I leave extra trees in my Kitchen Garden, before they would be too large to move? Some thought is required.

And of course one of the Amelanchiers in my Allee did the exact same thing. And one of the trees that had been planted almost three years ago, not one of the newer ones. This tree will be a lot easier to add in, luckily it is on the end of the Allee.

When I was living in Toronto, we had a number of Japanese maples in pots on our terrace. It was lovely having something growing (and hiding much of the concrete) all summer, and I used to heel them into the Kitchen Garden for the winter, before dragging them out the next spring and moving them back to Toronto. When we got the news we were moving to Barbados, I had to permanently plant them into the ground at Kilbourne Grove. All came through their first winter nicely, and looked lovely when I left the end of May.

But when I returned the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese Maple was crispy as well.

And it had been so gorgeous when I left…  However all was not lost. Look down, all the way down, can you see…

Look at all those lovely new shoots,

 how pink and white and green they are, is seems I might have a ‘Butterfly’ shrub instead of a standard, and that is perfectly fine with me.

14 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    It must be so frustrating for you – would the nursery not replace it free of charge – our local nursery would if a tree dies in its first year. As you bought 5 and only 1 died I think the fault lies with the nursery and not with you, I would try to get a replacement, but its a bit late to advise that now you are back in Barbados!!
    So glad your lovely Acer is determined to survive, lovely variegation on the leaves.

  2. 3

    I agree with Pauline. Contact the nursery and see if they will replace it for you – there’s usually a 1 year guarantee on trees and shrubs. Even though you may be outside the year, because of your cirucmstances, they might give you another.
    Glad to see the Acer is going to survive – a shrub is a good thing too.
    As I sit here on a dark, blustery day, I’m thinking of you in the sunshine. Heading south on the weekend for a cruise, so I’ll get some of that Caribbean sun myself soon.

    • 4

      I purchased the first lot at a wholesale tree company in Woodstock, I very long drive from Owen Sound. And they were only $20 each as they were whips, I would probably spend more then that on gas.
      Enjoy your cruise, if you are stopping in Bridgetown, let me know, would love to see you again.

  3. 5

    It’s so frustrating when one of many plants in a row withers. That happened to a mature boxwood hedge here shortly after we moved in. A huge hole, right in the middle. I was a bit drastic, and as the boxwood didn’t work with our woodland setting we ripped out the whole hedge. Obviously not an option here. I hope you can replace Tilia without too much trouble. Do you have a garden club in the area? Could you put out feelers and see if someone wants to split the order with you (if you have to buy 5)?

    For the maple, I’ve crisped a few (we moved from a shady to sunny garden, and I was stubborn and took the trees with me). Don’t prune anything on the tree until after it leafs out next spring. Some of my Japanese maples surprised me, and mostly recovered, even though they looked beyond hope.

  4. 7

    I would definitely check into the warranty first – most will replace within the first 12-15 months. As for the Tillia, do you think that it might be that it was competing with the much larger tree to its right? I think the larger tree might have been getting all the moisture and nutrients while poor ‘Tilly’ made due with what it could scrounge!
    Don’t even get me started on the A. palmatums – I am astonished that you are brave enough to try them at KG! Saying such, I have two on order for myself for next season. Why do we do this to ourselves?

    • 8

      Unfortunately this one was planted in 2009, so waaay beyong any warranty. And you are right, that maple is the problem, if I was there, I could have kept on top of the watering.
      Zone denial, it is a bit of a problem, isn’t it?

  5. 9

    Barbara H. said,

    Well, what about moving the healthy one that is now missing a partner? It’s hard to know without seeing a longer view. I, too, think the big tree so close by might be tough company. Maybe something smaller with a match on the other side? Or a piece of art? I know you”ll come up with a great solution.

    • 10

      I can’t move the healthy one on the otherside without leaving a huge gap in the design. I might have to leave planting a replacement for a couple of years. You are right, the maple is the problem and I am not there to babysit my new trees.

  6. 11

    debsgarden said,

    I can sympathize! i planted a matched pair of Camellia ‘Leslie Ann’ at the entry of my Lady garden. Now one is dying, not sure why! I have also struggled with a Butterfly Japanese maple. It died after years of misery. I replanted another one in a shadier spot and am trying to keep it well watered. It is so beautiful!

    I hope you can find another tilia. I guess one option might be to re-space the other ones farther apart, but that is a lot of work!

  7. 13

    Carolyn♥ said,

    I feel your disappointment… I planted a row of five trees at the edge of our property 8 years ago. I loved the look of the tall stately trees in a row, and loved the trees. Our neighbor tends to over water and has now killed two of the five. Not a stately row any more and to replace would cost grundles as they are quite large. Silly me, trees seem to bond with my soul rather quickly and become more like children. Emotional and financial loss.

    • 14

      I feel your disappointment, as well. I love avenues of trees, so upsetting about yours, neighbours can be a bit of a problem sometimes. I have planted a lot of trees at Kilbourne Grove, 43 so far, but of course, only the ones in the row have given me problems.

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