Tree hugging

Superstorm Sandy, which devastated so much of the Jersey Shore and the South Shore of Long Island the end of last October, by comparison dealt the East End only a glancing blow. The biggest damage incurred was to our beaches (which, with the advent of the spring ocean currents that return sand taken away in winter, have begun to rebuild themselves) and to the trees. Like an airbrush tanning session, the wind-driven salt-laden air coated the leaves. As it was late Fall, the deciduous trees shed their leaves as usual. But the evergreen trees retained their spray tan…and because we had almost no rain in the months that followed,  many pine and fir trees in fact have turned rather bronze. Unlike on humans, on a tree, bronze does not look healthy.

The tree gurus tell us that most of the evergreens will sprout new growth and eventually push off their unwanted “tan.” But it may take more than one season to do so. I am heartened, though, as Spring is upon us, to see some green pushing through the boughs of some of the white pines around town, which were as a species particularly hard hit. So maybe it will be all right after all. Coming as I do from the reclaimed desert that is Southern California, trees are precious to me, and it hurts to lose them!
Here at A Butler’s Manor, Sandy wasn’t the worst of the problem…it was the series of nor’easters that followed over the course of the winter. The last one, in early March, brought down five large trees around the perimeter of the pool and the back of the property. Replacing those, as well as the ornamental trees that did suffer hurricane-related damage, has been one of our focuses this Spring.
Last week, we had five good-sized crytomaria planted, as well as two small Japanese Maples to “buddy up” to our bloodied, but unbowed showpiece tree that suffered the only major blow Sandy dealt us. A large Leyland pine came down in the windstorm, on the head of the Japanese maple, severing many limbs. (The picture above was taken the day after Sandy — you can barely see the limbs of the maple under the fallen Leyland.) But our plucky survivor (seen on the right), while rather odd-shaped, has just started to sprout leaves, and its two buddies on either side will help fill in the hole in the landscape (and add beautiful red color!).
Still to come are a couple of large cherry laurels and a golden cypress, which will help fill out and add texture around the left side of the pool (now open, as seen in the picture). Another ornamental tree we just replaced will be a separate post, as it has its own story.
Chris has been working hard in his garden, trying to transfer to the carefully-weeded beds a nice layer of the black mulch that is currently taking up real estate in the back of the car park. Dozens of varieties of daffodils are currently in bloom, most of them cream-colored double daffs with frilly petals and touches of peach, salmon, or  pale yellow. They are gorgeous in the guest rooms.
Quote of the Day:  Storms make trees take deeper roots. –Dolly Parton

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