After long years, a maple tree grows (again) at the Manse.

Jake Tregunna guides our new maple tree into its newly dug spot as his dad, Mike, drives the little loader (cute as a bug’s ear) that holds it.

The remains of the old maple tree, a huge stump being chainsawed down before it was ground away. (Photo by Elaine Kapusta)

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.)

This morning, before the maple was planted, looking out from the Manse…

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.

… and after. A view forever changed. Or at least for a long, long time – the life of a maple tree.

Let’s just call this one “Manse. With maple, once again.”

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.

6 thoughts on “After long years, a maple tree grows (again) at the Manse.

  1. Mike Tregunna’s comment to me; “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The next best is today.” This was when I remarked that we should have planted trees along our lane years ago. We planted 8 Autumn Blaze maples like yours in May. This proved to be really dumb as it was the driest year in decades. We drew water (two barrels) every day for 3 months. We are hopeful that we too have proven our faith in the future.

    • What a great line from Mike! I felt the same thing about our place near Lindsay, but although I kicked myself for not planting them earlier, the trees and shrubs we did plant when we got to it are flourishing!

    • Of course you have, Grant and Gayle! And worked hard for the honour, evidently. What a summer in which to have newly transplanted trees to care for!

      That line of Mike Tregunna’s is – well, truer words were never spoken.

  2. Hi Katherine and Raymond!
    It’s so lovely to see the maple tree saga unfold.
    I just heard about this place in Frankford from Terry Sprague an area naturalist. So I am sharing the news with anyone fortunate enough to have property! I could see you two really getting into native plant gardening – the woman who runs it is Beate Heissler. She is the woman behind the .9 km boardwalk in the wetland at Frink Centre, that I was on about.
    http://www.naturalthemes.com/

    • Thank you for this, Lindi! I haven’t had much time to check out the website yet, but am highly intrigued. Maybe since my knowledge of gardening is nil I could start simple: with only native species. I look forward to finding out more about the Natural Themes operation; and I continue to marvel at all the interesting things that are going on in little pockets of Hastings County.

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