DSCN0672Here’s the view from my office window, showing the  white oak that has always been a source of pleasure to me. (And yes, I’m afraid that window does need cleaning rather badly.)

But its days are numbered. It’s a big tree, probably between 80 and 100 years old, but it is dying. Most of the greenery in the picture is produced from the trees on the other side of the street and the majority of it, including branches near the roof, have no leaves. We think it became infected with oak bores, which do what they sound like (poor conversationalists who drill into trees). So I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to tree companies about removing it and bracing myself to move the hostas growing around it which are getting bigger every day. I moved some peonies today. Very scary roots.

Photo Library - 0836Here’s the tree in the last real snowstorm we had, several years ago.

And here’s a really old tree, a 1,000-year old yew tree growing outside the church in Steventon, where Jane Austen’s father, and then her brother, held the living:

Photo Library - 0535So today I’m mostly filthy and bits of compost are falling off me as I walk around the house. In addition to the peony, I have planted about 18 black-eyed susans and a volunteer columbine that appeared in a plant pot (well, hello!), and have so much more to do.

What do you think I should plant in the oak’s place? I’m in Maryland, so a natural choice might be a dogwood (at risk because of a virus–I’ve already lost one) or a redbud. Or I could plant a flowering cherry, which isn’t a native but is an honored adoptee.

If you’re a gardener, or would like to be, tell me what you’re planting this year or admiring in other’s yards.