Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weeping Cherry

This weeping cherry tree was planted by the original owners of our house, the Howeths, in the late 1960s, making it about 40 years old. It's showing signs of age and diminishing vitality, but it may well last another 20 years.

The terrace is over 40 years old too, but I'm resisting thoughts of renovation. I like its patina of age. Perhaps a line of boxwoods outlining the near right corner will provide a pleasing finish.

Yes, that's likely to go on the "to do" list ...

 ... underplanted, of course, with a bergenia groundcover, to reflect the same combination used in other parts of the garden.


  1. James,
    The terrace is beautiful. You are lucky to have such a venerable specimen. I like your idea of box with bergenia.

  2. That is a lovely specimen. I wish more people would plant the natural weeping cherries instead of those beach umbrella grafts. Those chairs looked postioned to enjoy the show.

  3. It's a lovely tree and aging beautifully. It must be a delight to sit out there on a spring afternoon. My redbuds are also in serious decline~We've been here 24 yrs...they have been here longer then that! gail

  4. Michael,
    The remnants of the original garden--mainly the weeping cherry and the dogwoods--are all nearing the ends of their lives. We're in a period of transition. I want to start adding some new dogwoods this year. And I am really happy about the boxwoods. They will add an element of order, not formality I hope, that will frame the terrace area and the end view of the cherry. There's something about this terrace that reminds me of some of the gardens designed by Mien Ruys, perhaps just the age of the blue stone. I greatly admire her work (seen only in publications) and would gladly emulate her.

  5. Les,
    This is definitely a grafted tree. The graft is clearly visible about four feet above the bround, though the diameter of the trunk is well over a foot now. I wonder if this was once one of those awkward "umbrella" cherries that I now find so disgusting on suburban lawns.

  6. Gail,
    I hope it lasts another 20 years, but it could easily go in two or three. I envy your redbuds. I want a fringe of redbuds and dogwoods around the perimeter of the garden, but my conditions are generally too wet. I'll keep trying, though.

  7. Uh oh. I have an umbrella tree, but it isn't growing fast--a corkscrew willow may soon take its place anyway. Speaking of dogwoods--and I assume you mean trees--I've been thinking of getting one. Suggestions? Like you, I presume, my clay is alkaline, and I thought dogwoods prefer acidic and rich and well drained soil. A cultivar idea, oh wise one?

  8. What a stunning tree and I agree that the terrace should stay. Sometimes I think people rush to rip out the old on the assumption that anything new will be better but this isnt always the case

  9. Love the feel of the entire area and will be very interested to see how you do the box line.
    keep us posted!
    Best Wishes

  10. Benjamin,
    I share your condition. The dogwoods I have are mostly on the bank leading up to the house, where they do get good drainage. I've tried to establish them in the wetter areas of my garden, without success. They die. A couple of large, old ones survive, but I think they got established in an earlier age when my garden was an open field, and likely drier than it is today. My clay is slightly acidic, but not very acidic, so I might try one or two if I can find a slightly raised area.

    Have you considered the great variety of willows available from Bluestem Nursery in British Columbia?

  11. patientgardener,
    I agree. I can't afford to redo what serves so well. I do think some sharper lines (as with box) will give it a new clarity while retaining the well worn look of four decades of use.

  12. Robert,
    I think it will be a minimal outline of part of the square stone path and the wider terrace area (two right angles). Maintenance (a minimal amount) will probably determine the shape. Of course, this all is under the canopy, and near the trunk, of a 40-year-old sycamore. Will it work? I understand the challenge. We'll see.

  13. What a stunning site to see a mature weeping cherry tree and a lovely garden.

  14. That's a terrific view down the terrace. Picked a nice tree those Howarths, Box and Bergena sounds a good combination.

  15. Paul,
    Thanks for stopping by. I used to think this tree was out of place in my wet prairie garden. I've decided it predates my garden by several decades, so my garden must adapt, and I just have to adjust my thinking. It is a beautiful tree.

  16. Rob,
    Glad to meet another admirer of box and bergenia. I have to admit I envy your French garden and your beautiful landscape. But I remind myself western New Jersey has its own charms. They're just more familiar to me and suffer the indifference of the familiar.



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