Chaos Theory Applied in Garden

The tranquility trees are blooming. I’ve been training the one closest to the courtyard to drape like an arch at the entry. Anyone who comes to our house gets to walk under this arbor. I think this is why people are generally friendly by the time they reach our front door. This season the draping branches hang over the stone wall Joe and I built out of river rock, red round stones we collected from here and there. This morning the tree branches are blushed with tiny yellow blossoms. I wrote about these trees last August when the blooms had already turned into the hard smooth seed pods. I wrote about our courtyard last September, but the picture in that post doesn’t show the branches of the tree draping over the wall. It hadn’t gotten that far when I took the picture.

So today, I’m discovering a dilemma with blogging. I have to remember what I write about, so I can always offer something new. This could get sketchy.

Today the bit of news is that these  trees are the reason we redid our front yard.We were given six of them to test out from a local nursery and they were sitting in their wooden boxes on our old driveway. It was summer and the only way to keep them alive was to hand water them. This was my job, because my husband works a lot and my children don’t like the out doors as much as I do, especially in the summer when it’s well over a hundred degrees. I like watering plants, because it’s a meditative kind of thing to do and I’m a terrible meditator. Watering makes me feel as Zen as I’ll ever be. But watering six large trees in the dead heat of summer is too much Zen.

So I innocently said, “we should plant these trees.”

And my husband didn’t say “sure, we could do that.”

Instead he drew up a plan and showed me the drawing. We talked about little revisions that I can’t recall, but making them allowed me to feel like I had some hand in the final design. And I’m fuzzy on the order in which things unfolded from there. I remember a huge pile of sand sat in front of the house for so long the neighboring kids thought of it like a small playground. A ditch deep enough to bury a few horses cut across the yard in an arc all through the rainy season and filled with water enough to resemble a muddy pool. My son played in it until he looked like he was made from clay. A fireman friend came by to put in a steel header shaped like a giant egg to contain the grass we planned to keep. Walls went up. Sprinklers were installed.

Then my husband came home driving a front-end loader and broke the driveway apart by catching the concrete slab in the loader’s teeth and lifting it high in the air. Then he let it drop so it could crack into flagstone-sized pieces. There were many weeks of setting the broken concrete to form a new drive and fill in the courtyard.

Then we planted the tranquility trees.

Two years may have gone by during all this mess making, but time has a way of flowing past me in immeasurable streams, so maybe it was three. It doesn’t matter now. The trees are blooming and beginning to look like they’ve always been here.

clustered bloom of the tranquility tree

clustered bloom of the tranquility tree


One thought on “Chaos Theory Applied in Garden

  1. Thanks for the story of how the front yard came into being. I’ve seen it at various stages, but didn’t have the whole picture, including the drama-filled entrance of the backhoe! There could be a good lower-division elective called Yard Appreciation, perhaps with a followup on Yard Analysis. With our yard, everything I’ve done with it for 20 years has been with the aim of making it less labor-intensive, but the result has been mostly the opposite.

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