My yard is rather magical. It’s wooded and deep and has a very hamlet-like feel to it. But hamlet my neighborhood is not. I have an unusually large chunk of property about 6 miles from the heart of the second largest city in Michigan, and the street I live on is one of two major thoroughfares to go from the northeast side of Grand Rapids to the northwest. This far out it's not too heavily traveled, but rarely is it completely free of traffic.
But on my relatively small .7 acres, I had 3 black walnuts, 4 pine trees, 2 maples, and an apple tree that I was told was about “as old as they can possibly get". These green beasts are giant - at least 5 stories high. And while these amazing remnants of less populated times makes the area feel smaller and less urban, it has one singular problem.
There is no part of my yard untouched by shade at some point during the day.
To most people this probably wouldn’t be problematic. But I love growing things. I love digging my feet and fingers in the dirt and guiding seedlings from tiny bits of green into their eventual fullness as flowers, veggies, or whatever else they might become. And most plants prefer at least 8 hours of sun.
So, late last week I decided to do something about it.
I called a tree service to cut down the dying apple (it had been struck by lightening last summer) and the youngest silver maple. They were both in my back yard, which is the area that I use for my veggie garden. By removing these two trees, I have more sun back here (yes, I’m writing while perched atop a fallen trunk) than anywhere else in my yard. It’s not truly full sun, as it is still shaded at some point by various trees, but I’ll probably get a good 8 hours.
This is so exciting! I think it’s going to get it fenced in to keep the animal out. Then, I’m going to plant. I’m thinking a lovely mix of flowers and veggies, annuals and perennials, to get a nice little secret garden. Given the one true downside – that I can now see more of the houses around me – I’m thinking climbers and taller plants at the edges. Maybe I’ll add a mini water feature, some garden furniture, and pathways.
Here are some photos facing south from my house behind the woodshed. My yard ends at the apple tree both to the back and the left. (The play house is in my neighbor's yard.) I put my boot on the trunk so you can get an idea of how large the trunks were. The garden space is now 52x48 square feet!!!