We got out early this morning to water the baby trees, and found cottonwood tree leaves in the lawn. Okay–let’s call it what passes for lawn at my house.
The cottonwoods lose about half their leaves between mid-July and mid-August. Maybe more if it’s been a dry year. For me, it’s the start of Autumn.
According to the “old” calendar, Autumn begins on August 2, cross-quarter between the Solstice (June 21) and the Equinox (September 21), when the days shorten perceptibly. Just as February 2 is the start of Spring, when the days lengthen perceptibly.
Of course, it depends on where you live.
And here, thriving in the ashes of the burn pile, are morning glories. Glorious this morning.
If you’re gardening today, I hope the weeds are few and the rain is just right.
Here’s a tree that’s doing well despite the lack of rain. It was here when we arrived–almost two decades ago. It looks like and grows like a maple, the leaves turning bright yellow in fall, with roots above the ground and lots of suckers needing to be cut.
We’re promised rain later today, and the radar shows us covered in green. Fingers crossed.
I went out back yesterday, and in addition to experiencing the ridiculous heat index of 100 plus degrees Fahrenheit, I experienced dismay at seeing cottonwood tree leaves. Yellow and on the ground. My six-year-old trees, stressed to the max, and it’s only mid-July. Darn.
Cottonwoods, native to the Midwest, typically lose leaves in late summer or early fall. Or when it’s extremely dry or unusually hot. No, it’s not late summer. But the heat and lack of rain has caught up with the trees. They’ve shed about 10 percent of their leaves, which helps the tree survive. All the extension office websites I checked agree that the trees aren’t in danger. Yet.
Is there a lesson in that? For me? For you? For the country?
I’m at that point with my work in progress (WIP). Time to chalk it up as a bad experience, lessons learned, and move on. Maybe I’ll give up writing altogether–or so I tell my fabulous editor/coach.
No, no, no, she emails back. You’re closer than you think.
And while I’m cogitating, Jim asks me what I want to do with the ‘old tree out back’. This poor thing was a 40 foot cottonwood that has been here since before the acreage was divided and the house was built some 30 years ago. It’s been dying a slow and painful death since we moved in. This spring, Jim cut the tree down and left the stump.
I thought we’d poly it and use it as a garden seat. I neglected to say the words out loud to Jim, and he left it be. As you see, the tree persists in being something. Not the cottonwood it was. Maybe a cottonwood bush. And surrounding the stump are little trees popping out of the grass. Like so.
I have this notion that I should be able to write three or four novels a year. And I have, but not different books. I’ve rewritten the same book, three times going on four.
Now here I am, at the start of the second year, deciding whether to persist. Have I learned to be more tree-like?
I’ve been trying to grow an apple allée in the back acre. So far, I have six trees, three varieties of apples for cross pollination.
Problem is, the trees aren’t cooperating. One of them keeps falling over.
“You used the wrong soil,” Jim says. And he’s probably right. Instead of plopping the tree into Kansas clay, I mixed in potting soil. The remaining trees are still quite young. It’ll be several years before they grow enough to form the alley, or the path between them.
Just in case you’re wondering, the word allée comes from the French aller, the infinitive meaning ‘to go’.
I’ve been looking for examples of allées, and here is a good one. Driving out of the Rutlader Cemetery–about a mile from our house. I think these are oaks, but honestly, my tree identification skills are not great.
I like to think that someday, my apple allée will look this good.