When we first moved into Maple Hoo, the front yard was perhaps the most boring, ugly front yard you could imagine. It was a swath of average-looking grass, the average suburban evergreen mustache foundation planting, and what looked at first glance to be a very average tree. The backyard was lush and green and wonderful, with its showy maple, majestic oak, and colorful sugar gum trees. The front yard tree was all trunk with some scraggly branches dotted with small roundish leaves. I was more than a little glum that my bedroom was the one that was going to look out over the boring front yard and the boring, boring tree. Our nosy, know-it-all neighbor informed us it was a linden tree, and for the first year of living at Maple Hoo I cursed the linden and how it didn’t fill my bedroom window with the kind of lush foliage I was hoping to find in my forever home. More than that, it looked less than sturdy. Boomer had some of its branches wired to the trunk, but that only made me more nervous that in a big storm, my bedroom was going to be smushed, with me in it, by massive ugly linden branches, adding injury to the insult of not getting a view of the maple.
But somewhere along the line I discovered the tree was actually quite beautiful.
It might have been the moment when Boomer learned from her master gardener course that it wasn’t in fact a linden, confirming that our nosy, know-it-all neighbor knows little and should mind her own business (now we think the tree is a black locust). It might have been when I realized there weren’t as many baby black locusts trying to come up in the garden (those suckers are hard to pull up). It might have been when we added a handful of apple and peach trees, a new walkway, and a large garden to the front yard, thus relieving the tree of its prior role of “Sole Focal Point In The Front Yard”. Or it might have been when I discovered that an architectural tree can be just as interesting to look at as a lush maple canopy. It might have been when I discovered how pretty the leaves are when they turn light gold and fall, drifting like flakes in a snowglobe all over the front yard.
Or, it might be because it hasn’t come crashing into my bedroom, yet.
In any event, this is the Black Locust of Maple Hoo, guardian of the garden and inspiration for the apples and peaches to grow tall and strong.