Monday, March 15, 2010
The really old chinaberry tree on the south side of our house has taken some serious hits in the last 25 years. It went from a sturdy trunk with a wide, airy canopy to a storm-damaged stick of a tree. As it aged, it began rotting on the inside, yet the outer ring of wood continued to send up new limbs each year that provided dappled shade for the bed beneath. When it became too unsteady, I finally agreed with my husband that it should come down. Oh, I hated that. I always loved the fringed leaves, pretty lilac blooms that covered the yard like elegant confetti each spring - and didn't even mind the berries. When we chopped it down, I dug into the center cavity and found decomposing organic matter. Joel and I both had the same idea: why not turn it into a planter? I mixed some potting soil and expanded shale to help retain moisture and filled the cavity with Louisiana blue phlox and a lovely purple verbena. The stump is now a bright spot in a bed that was turned ugly by the freeze this winter and has become a focal point for what will be coming up around it.