Last year, one of the 100-year-old Sycamores across the street had one of its large limbs ripped from its body by a strong windstorm. It fell onto my neighbor’s lawn without being invited, and my neighbor, I am sure, did not appreciate its “dropping in” for a visit. As the limb rested along the street, I kept looking at it, and I kept thinking about what I could do with it.
I finally went over and loaded it into the back of my truck to drive it away from its resting place to my backyard gate which was not very far away. I drug it inside and unceremoniously dropped it on the patio until I could decide how to handle it.
I finally pulled it over to my fence and propped it upright to dry out over the winter. I had decided what I wanted to do with it, so it was a matter of waiting for warmer weather to put my idea into place. As the weather warmed up this past couple of months, I kept looking at the branch and thinking, “get out there and get it planted.” Not planted in the sense that it would grow – its death had occurred months before in the fall – both literally and seasonally.
Finally, this past weekend I took my post hole diggers out, dug a hole about three feet deep, and set the long part of the branch into the ground. I anchored it with some old bricks and iron weights that I had lying around, covered the base with some of the soil that had been removed , and stood back to admire it. I am really pleased with its form and with all the side appendages that it has.
Sycamores are among my favorite trees – another one being the Shag bark Hickory – and I collect the bark for craft projects. The magnificent Sycamores that line Thieme Drive were planted back in 1911 under a parks and boulevard plan created by George Kessler. They are stately, large-branched trees with mottled bark that drops off at various times over their life span.
I am thrilled to have a humble Sycamore branch residing in my back yard. A little gift from nature that adds to my efforts to use unusual materials in my ongoing landscaping challenges.