Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Could the Emerald Ash Borer Have Been a Blessing?

For those of you have been reading my blog for a while now, you may remember that a couple of years ago we discovered the Emerald Ash Borer had made it to Oakville.   TreeAzin was being pushed by the Town of Oakville as a fix.  I decided I'd let nature take its course when I discovered a) the pesticide was never tested as being safe for woodpeckers and my tree was covered in them and b) it can't be used around water and every third house in this area seems to be built over an underground stream.  As it turns out, TreeAzin certainly isn't living up to the promise it first showed, treated trees are succumbing almost as fast as those that haven't been.

So, after much delay, today was the day that the ash would come down.  I'd rearranged the muscles in my back cutting down and moving piles of plant material to make way for the crew and equipment.  Normally the branches can be dropped and carried out. Sadly, there was no place to drop them, so we had to hire a crane that would be stationed on top of several gardens.

Late last night they moved the metal platforms into position.

You can see the gardens that they are sitting on.

Here's one last shot of the ash from kitchen window:

At 7:45 Mr. Crane arrived.

Here is Bart guiding him into position:

The arborist, tied into the tree and ready to work his chainsaw:

Fingers crossed all the knots are nice and tight on this side of the house:

Because every piece has to be cut off and ...

swung over the roof:

To the waiting equipment and crew on this side:

Branch #1:

and there it goes, into little tiny pieces:

I left to do my groceries and came back to find most of the crown of the ash gone in only 90 minutes!

I went downstairs to try to avoid some of the noise.  When I came back up, there was the rest of the tree on the street.  I am so glad I didn't know it was going over the roof when I was sipping my soup:

They figure the tree was about 80 years old or so.

While I knew that it drew its last breath this summer, I had no idea that the tree was so hazardous.  Look how little was holding it onto its spot in my garden:

For anyone who wants to practice their emerald ash tree borer exit hole spotting.  Here's your chance:

This gives you another idea of how big it was:

And here's the stump - the rot breaks away like brown sugar:

Another kind arborist giving my photo some scale:

And for those of you who enjoy seeing chainsaws in action - here are a few shots:

While the rule is that you've got about 18 months to get an ash down when it dies because it rots at the base (proof positive several photos above).  Had the insects not done their worst, I would have had no idea that it was such a hazard.  I'm so sorry to lose another old tree, but so glad it came down on my terms and not as spectacular punctuation point to one of Mother Nature's wild storms.

In my office, I can hear the fellows continue to clean up and take away the mess.  They're leaving me with a double face cord that should last for a couple of winters to come.

I'll definitely think of this good old tree when I'm sitting by the fire enjoying the crackle of its logs.

And just one more shot - of the stumping machine - something that's done as easily as a video game.  The controls are in his hands.  Just think of years ago, when you had to pull out the old work horse and spend a day getting it out of the ground.  Looks like it will be gone in less than 2 hours.  Amazing.  It was there for so long, and now gone.


Jenn from Wildwood shared this video with me for the bit I missed!

Monday, November 3, 2014

What's Up At Landscape Ontario's Fall Expo 2014

The Garden and Floral fall show is much smaller - and dare I say daintier (no rows of tractors, trucks and chainsaw exhibitions anywhere) than the January show.  There are some growers:  perennials and cut flowers/greens and many manufacturers and importers that sell gift and accessory items.

Interesting to see a bit of a dichotomy between indoors and out.  Indoor plants and Christmas decorations are trending toward the "Pinterest-wedding-jar-on-the-table-look" old-fashioned and subtle.  And, outside, well, crank up the colour, there's going to be orange, red, bright pinks, chartreuse next spring.  While the growers are restricted to showing what is looking good at the moment in the greenhouse (you'll recognize some plants like the Mukdenia that have been grown for several years), they confirmed that they're definitely looking at (and growing) plants with tonnes of colour for next year.

Additionally they've been playing around with some old perennials making intergeneric crosses - "Echibeckia" anyone?  Apparently Echibeckia 'Summering Orange' will have the hardiness of Echinacea with the appearance of of a Rudbeckia.  None there to see, just a little photograph showing a plant that looks a little like Rudbeckia 'Cappuccino'.

Another tiny-flowered Coreopsis joins the mix called Cruising Broad Street from Skagit Gardens.  It has bright red flowers and orange on the back of the petals.  Echinacea 'Sombrero' is a photo-dead ringer for Tithonia (although with a dark, rather than yellow centre).

Stepping inside this holiday season, the turquoise and chartreuse of Christmas pasts have given over to a riot of red, green and white/black/red.  If you want more subtlety - switch out the white for beige/earth tones. 

Lots of ribbons with writing on them too - chalk-board ribbon chatter figures big this season.

You'll see lots of objects coming to retail stores designed to be an inoffensive as possible to your current living room decor.  It's all a big ix-nay on the arkly-spay.

Really have to applaud the frame colour for this wall garden (Floral Dimensions in Fenwick).

This gets my 1st prize for horticultural cute.

Something else to look out for next year.   We'd seen the diplodenia in single pots at the big box stores - I like the idea of the mix with the gigantic tropical in the centre.  Providing you get the hose on it - you'll have a really spectacular pot to display.

And, just because we had our first bit of snow this Saturday, here's a few random shots from the Cherry Hill Trail at the Royal Botanical Gardens the week before - photos taken with my new cell phone I'm getting used to....same spot framed a little differently:

Me and Bart - the only way I could get him to stay put with all the squirrels around.

Oh, and guess who didn't come today - the tree guy to take down my Ash.   So much work being done in Oakville, the crane was unavailable.....  Fingers crossed it happens sooner than later.