Though I have started some yard projects, I wanted to catch up on pictures of Spring before they get too old to mention...
Today, I have pictures of my 2 saucer magnolia trees. There's a back story. When I got a new job in central Washington DC in 1984, I saw some trees that just entranced me. No, not the famous cherry trees (though they are magnificent. But there was a small park across the street from my office. Every Spring, these twisted gnarly trees would fill with large 6" pink blooms that just amazed me. It took 4 years to learn what kind of tree they were. When I found out, I bought two. One for the front yard and one for the back yard.
I have tried to shape them, something I am inexperienced at, but I do it judiciously with the much older professionally-maintained DC trees in mind. It isn't easy. I suspect the DC trees were treated like large Bonzai trees with wires bending the branches into contorted gnarls. I'm still working on that. Each Spring, I work on opening the center of the tree and creating angles in the branches.
The Backyard Tree: This one gets more sun, so has grown to about 15' high in 20 years. I have gotten some shape by bending down some branches with cinder blocks. And I see that, slowly, I need to limb up the tree so that I can walk under it safely. It will spread wide and strongly as it ages. But here is the current tree...
As you can see, I've left many lower branches on for photosynthesis. I think this Fall I can remove the lowest limbs after dormancy. Plus, I think part if the design technique is to remove most of the interior twigs along the branches, leaving all the outermost.
The Frontyard Tree: This one is partially shaded, so it is smaller; only 10' tall. It suffered some loss last year when I had a contractor drive a vehicle into the back yard. When I planted it, I thought it was far enough away from the huge old oak for a vehicle to pass, but I had to remove some branches on one side.
I plan to encourage some of the tallest branches to grow to the right, but above the height of a vehicle. I do have reasons for standard vehicles to get past it to the backyard every couple of years, yet I to want it to appear more balanced than it currently is.
Of course, from other views, it is quite shapely. This is the view visitors get, so it's not bad.
And by the way, you see that large rock near the tree? I had that delivered 4 years ago, planning to create an flowerbed island around it and the tree. I'll be doing that this year. I'm planning to take some old carpet and cut it to shape. If I do it soon, that should kill all the grass by Fall. I'll remove the carpet, plant daffodils there in the Fall, mulch in heavily, then plant perennials next Spring. Or maybe annuals so that I can change the colors each year.