Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crooked Trees

I have not yet gotten good pictures of the crape myrtles up top when they are in bloom. There are 3 near the end of the driveway. The crape myrtle in the middle is a seedling of 'Pink Lace' that I grew from a cutting. The two on each side are its seedlings.

The full size version of the 'Pink Lace' seedling is a magnificent tree, with huge trusses of pink flowers and a graceful semi-weeping habit. It has only one fault: zero fall color. An almost cardinal sin for a crape myrtle, but I'm willing to overlook it because otherwise the tree is so nice. The two seedlings on either side have more than one fault. Like their beautiful seed parent, none of the seedlings have any fall color. In addition, the seedlings just look kind of ...strange. Even though the shade of the nearby tulip poplars never touch the trees, they lean away from the poplars anyway, as though eschewing their company. They look like shrubs and not trees. (In contrast another of the seedlings, near the apple trees, has always looked like a tree.)

I limbed up the seedling below a few years ago in an effort to make it look more tree-like. The twin boys across the street (they were 3 or 4 years old at the time) saw me working me with the loppers and kept asking what I was doing. I just smiled and waved since I didn't know what I was doing, which soon became apparent since the seedling just ended up looking stranger than before. Bob Ross was right. I keep hoping that it will grow and then finally the branches will dip back toward the ground.

I guess I should explain those trash cans. Although I live in the country, I also live at the end of a small subdivision. The trash cans belong to the neighbor, who used to burn trash in them. I don't have many pictures of the other houses because our main view of the neighborhood is what we see after the round the big stand of tulip poplars as we head down the driveway. It's a nice neighborhood. It used to look a little bare but many of the trees are really sizing up now they are 15+ years old. Most of our property is bordered on the east by the neighbor's pastures and fields and to the west by woods.

The cool raspberry seedling is very shrubby and used to be rather spindly at the same time. It has filled in and looks more robust now. Occasionally I think of asking G. to cut down the seedlings, and that if I keep mowing them down with the tractor perhaps they will give up? Perhaps as they mature they will look better. Toward this end they get mulched with hay the horses won't eat.

There are lots of crooked trees around here.

Our two little dwarf apple trees (one died this summer, RIP) have always been very crooked, although they ended up looking quite picturesque and full of character after the course of several growing seasons. Dwarf rootstock tends to be weak and the winds from Hurricane Floyd blew them sideways.

The sweetgum on the left and apricot maple to the right both lean to the north.

The crooked tree to the right used to be in the middle of the woods before a path was cleared to the house. I think eventually the wood's edge will lose its raw spindly look, but it's going to take time.

Check out this crooked tree! We took a day trip to Chapel Hill today since the weather was so cold and windy, I didn't feel like working the horses or in the garden. It's an oak tree at the NC Botanical Garden that was pushed over by the high winds of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and yet lives.

More on Chapel Hill later; despite the windy days recently, there was quite a bit of fall color left, more than I expected!


  1. I googled that pink lace crape myrtle and it is gorgeous!!

    1. It is, although according to this website'Pink Lace' doesn't have fall color either. I think whoever bred the Pink Lace seedling was looking for a tree with larger flower trusses than Pink Lace and fall color. They got the larger flower trusses anyway. :) I think the lack of fall color is why the tree was not introduced into the trade as a cultivar. It's a great tree anyway!

  2. Your trees and woods are quite lovely.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week and day.


  3. You made me smile on that shot of Bob Ross. Trees are awesome.....native ones are even better! I'd love to grow these beauties here but they wouldn't last too long:)

  4. One thing I like about late fall and winter is the way tree shapes become more apparent. That crooked tree in Chapel Hill is amazing. It reminds me of the old oak behind our house that in 1990 lost a significant part of its top to a tornado, but yet survived and prospered. Your property is so beautiful. It certainly does not look like a subdivision lot!

  5. An interesting look at the shapes and tendencies of trees. They respond to light and to wind patterns and they get all bent by storms, making each an individual. And each tree has its own personality. We planted three identical white birches in a triangle for a certain effect -- well, each tree has grown differently and is a different size and shape --- each one is an individual despite our attempts to create symmetry! Love the Bob Ross picture : )

  6. I wasn't familiar with "Pink Lace" either. It sounds beautiful! That is unusual for one not to be colorful in the fall. I love your property and would never have guessed that you have close neighbors.


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