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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Fall New Red Oak Tree

Friday, November 3, 2017

Funny how the mind works. How memory works. Some images are burned into my memory, lovingly cherished or sadly remembered. Then there are the memories easily supplanted with new ones to take their place.... 

A New Red Oak Tree 

has surprisingly made the thoughts of losing two big old oak trees easier to bear.  


Our ideas of what home should look like stem from our childhood homes and natural surroundings. Growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in north Alabama shapes my thoughts about landscapes dense with trees. After moving to north Texas, I missed trees. 

Flat, open prairies with tall brown grasses dotted with stubby post oaks and thorny mesquite trees just did not seem like home. My soul longed for trees... big trees... all around the house. 

Spring, Two Years Ago 

Over thirty years ago, we found a couple of acres covered with mature oak trees to surround the house we built on the property. Two huge old oak trees shaded the front of the house facing the road. 

Over the years tree limb after tree limb died and had to be removed. Narcissus grew beneath the old oak trees. 

August 30 

The two mighty oaks were dead, no green leaves, only bare limbs. August 30 was a sad day seeing the two trees cut down and leaving an empty spot in the front yard. 

October 24 

Fall is the time to plant new trees so their roots can grow and get established before the heat of the Texas summer. A new red oak tree now sits between the buried remaining roots of the two old oak trees. Note: Try to remove as much of old trees' roots as possible to give a new tree room for its roots to grow. 

Love at first sight... a beautiful canopy of leaves with promises of spreading out to shade the front yard once more. 

October 31 

Fall color... an unexpected surprise. 

November 3  

A red oak tree full of fall color greets me as I enter my driveway. The annual rye grass is also growing quickly in the cool fall temperatures.  

Would I have ever chosen to cut down the two old mighty oak trees in order to replace them with a red oak with colorful fall foliage? 

No. But, sometimes you don't get to choose what happens. The trees died and had to be cut down.... leaving a big hole in the yard and a sadness for their loss. 

In their place is a new beautiful tree, one I did not foresee. 

Memory is a funny thing. I am already beginning to forget what the front yard looked like with the two big oak trees. However, I don't think I will completely forget them because of all the memories for the past thirty-eight years. 

Just less than two weeks ago, my heart was sad at losing those two big oaks, and now, my yard has a red oak tree with brilliant fall foliage. A sight I never dreamed of seeing. 

I need to cut a few branches to bring inside.  

joie de vivre 
exuberant joy of living