I Found a Tree

My English learners and I had a favorite poem called “I Found a Cow.” It went like this: “I found a cow! How? I found a hen! When? I found a bear! Where?”…and it went on from there…you get the idea. Well they would all be so pleased to hear that…I found a TREE!



First, let’s review. Here are two pictures of my back yard over the summer, when I first started  working on it. You will see back against the fence, it looks like mostly bushes. I had trimmed them up a little bit at that point, but this is pretty much what the back fence has looked like for years.pile-of-leaves

Yesterday I trimmed them even more, and I discovered something extremely interesting.


I found a tree!

 I knew there were a few branches of bottlebrush peeking out among the other bushes, and the hummingbirds were enjoying the few red flowers that were on them. But I figured it was just a little plant, kind of an extra thing that had somehow gotten back there and was barely “making it” among the overgrowth of the bushes.


The more I trimmed the bushes, the more bottlebrush branches I found. I was careful not to cut them off, except for a few that were obviously dead. I soon realized that the bottlebrush tree was actually the main plant back there, and that the bushes had just been growing up around it all these years and crowding it out.bench

Here you can see the bottlebrush trunk, with the trunks of the bushes off to the sides.


I was amazed at how big it actually was. Before, I had always felt kind of bad trimming the bushes because, after all, they are living things and, well, it’s hard to explain…I know trimming plants is actually good for them, but it has always been hard for me to do. But now that I’ve found the tree, I’ve become ruthless. It’s time to do away with these overgrown bushes that are obstructing my beautiful hummingbird attracting bottlebrush!


So I trimmed them even more. I even got out the ladder (Mom, you did NOT just read that!) and climbed up to get some of the higher branches. I don’t know what kind of bushes they are but apparently they grow into trees if you let them. nest

I found a nest, too. At least I think it’s a nest. I don’t know if it is a bird’s nest or a squirrel’s nest. (Mental note to self: Google to see if squirrels build nests in trees.) But I’m not going to mess with it, and we’ll see what results.

hummingbird-in-treeThis is kind of a humming bird silhouette, but in reality the bird was green, and he kind of looked like a baby one. See him right there in the center? His beak is facing toward the right. If I see him anymore I’ll name him Greenie. He was really cute.hummerHere he is again, cropped to make him look closer up. Amazing what you can do with an iPhone, isn’t it? And speaking of iPhone photos, that reminds me of photos from before digital cameras, the ones with actual film and negatives, remember? Well yesterday evening I was cleaning a closet and I came across two boxes stuffed with pictures, from as far back as 1992, when Mark and I got married. I’d labeled them pretty well, and so it was with much interest that I took out the ones marked “House and Yard”.

back-yard-overgrown-1Yes, there was a time when our back yard really did look like this. (Pre-California drought, obviously!) You will see the palm tree in the corner which is now the tree stump with the geraniums planted in it. You may notice that the side fence was overgrown with ivy. Yup. It was a jungle out there. But wait till you see the next photo…


I am not making this up!  Just saying.