Actually? I cut one down. But not without thought. If you haven’t guessed by now, I love nature. I work hard to keep plants alive, which is why you won’t find them in my house, btw. Inside? I tend to forget them, and they die. We get along better when I let nature help out.

I’ve lived here almost two years now. When I moved in, there was a slightly crooked tree situated in the corner of my patio garden. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, I just knew it was scraggly, overgrown, and frankly, hideous. I decided not to deal with it that first year. It was fall, leaves were falling off, and I was still unpacking. I also like to wait a year before changing a garden because you never know what treasures you’ll find. Rearranging is always best saved for later.

But this tree? Ugly when I moved in, it was only uglier through that first winter. Bare and half dead, I figured that would be the first to come out in spring.  Well, spring arrived and I spent my time buying dirt (yes, I said that….buying dirt) to create my veggie garden. I ignored the hideous garden corner and began planting seeds.

I learned something about condo gardens though. Well, at least the one I chose to move to. They use chemicals. Lots of chemicals for our “lawn” areas. And that’s in quotes, because I see a ton of weeds. If chemicals actually work? Why is it not all lush green grass? But I won’t go into a tirade about nature vs. chemicals. At least? Not until I start going to condo meetings and ask questions.

So, don’t even get me started on the lack of bees. This is the first garden I’ve ever had where I didn’t get any zucchini. Yeah, that stuff you can’t give away by the end of summer. I realized I had no bees. There were carpenter bees because everyone has a wood fence. But there was a serious lack of pollinators.

Until this hideous tree bloomed. If I had been patient, I probably would have had tons of zucchini last summer. But I pulled it all out before the tree bloomed. And for those of you afraid of bees? They really don’t bother you when they are busy with flowers. I had different varieties of bees, and the bonus was seeing hummingbirds every morning.

So curiosity got me, and I asked a neighbor who is a landscaper what this tree was? Turns out it’s a rose of sharon, which I have only seen as a  shrub.  I had no idea it could grow into a tree if not trimmed. But it did. The problem is in where it was situated. The area of dirt is approximately 3 feet by 2 feet by about 12 inches deep. Not enough room for the roots to grow strong.

Because this shrub didn’t have strong roots and was never trimmed , it became top heavy. And with every wind storm, it grew a little more crooked. And isn’t that true of people? If your roots aren’t strong, nurtured, and fed? If your foundation is not constructed properly? Eventually your life topples down around you.

Well, because this tree became top heavy, it was falling. And spring in Ohio never fails. So the last wind storm brought this tree down another six inches. The roots were beginning to show, and it was only a matter of time before it fell on its own. And I debated letting nature take care of it. After all, who am I to decide the fate of this bee magnet? Maybe it will never fall. Maybe some things should just stay crooked, because they don’t need to be fixed.

But my dog often lays under this tree. And I walk under it every day tending my garden. So letting it fall was really not an option.

And I love nature. And trees. So I debated for a few reasons. One? It’s a tree. Two? I already tried trimming it last year and struggled with a hand saw doing it. I don’t own a chainsaw, but quite honestly, they scare me anyway. Especially if you’re using it overhead. But knowing that hiring someone was just out of the budget, I had to figure out the how of this.

I figured that I wasn’t going to win this challenge on strength. Well, actually, try a hand saw one day. It does require strength even though this tree was only about 8 inches in diameter. But my real fear was in cutting and having the tree damage everything around it, including my fence. Or me. So just like a jenga puzzle, I didn’t want this thing crashing down on my head or feet or fence.

So, it maybe took a bit longer. But I took it down a branch at a time. I did decide to keep a small piece of it intact though. Because sometimes when you’re clearing things out, you keep a little bit of the good stuff in your life and nurture it. Trim the shrub, feed the roots, let it grow strong the way it’s supposed to.