This morning the raison d’être for our visit to the Manse this past weekend was accomplished: a nice big (25-foot) maple tree was planted. It is our replacement for the beautiful old maple that graced the front yard in my childhood but that subsequently succumbed to something, was cut down, and by the time we bought the Manse a little under a year ago was present only in the form of an unsightly stump. (You can read about – and see a video of – the stump being taken out here. It was quite an undertaking – and not cheap. Though what is cheap when it comes to doing the right thing with an old house?)
As I believe I’ve reported before, my brother John’s advice on the maple-tree front was to “buy the biggest one you can afford, and get a fast-growing one.” The idea being that we are none of us getting any younger, and if we want to see a nice big maple tree in front of the Manse once again in our lifetimes, well, giddyup.
So that’s what we did, and we were so fortunate to go tree-hunting at the fantastic Tregunna Tree Farm outside Tweed. Mike and Jillian Tregunna had some nice big maples at a great (read: non-big-city) price, partly because they are so big that they kind of have to be transplanted very soon or they will no longer be transplantable. So we arranged way back last early summer for the maple – which was to be transplanted in the late fall, the best time for it, Mike said; and for good measure while we were there bought a Dutch-elm-disease-resistant elm tree, which Mike planted some months ago (details and photos here.)
We’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our maple for months, and today it finally happened. Mike and his son Jake drove up in their big truck just after 9 a.m. and set to work. First question: where does it go? My answer: as close as possible to where the old maple was, without interfering with the elm. Mike’s first plan was to try to put it right where the old tree had been, but he soon discovered that the roots of that tree ran too wide and deep. So the new maple went in about five feet to the south.
Raymond and I watched and took pictures through the whole operation – which took place on a stunningly mild day for mid-November; a sign? – and felt quite pleased with ourselves. The new tree is a fast-growing variety called Autumn Blaze, and Mike assures us it will live up to its name in the fall. And he gave us lots of helpful suggestions about fertilizer and watering (none of which needs to happen till the spring), and told us to give him a call if we had any questions. I think we’re in good hands on the tree front.
Once all the work was done and Mike and Jake had left, Raymond and I just stood and looked at our maple tree. “That’s something,” I said, stating the obvious. “It’ll be here long after we’re gone,” Raymond replied – in an upbeat, not triste, way.
Indeed. I like to think of our new maple and elm trees as a vote of confidence in the future of the Manse. Whatever else might happen, I think we have left our mark.