Wind in the Willow

The Willow garden bed has always been a magical place. In the heat of summer, light north breezes blow in off the rice fields and into its deep shade, creating an outsize cool and dark refuge in an otherwise blazing landscape. Countless secrets have passed between dog and human on its bench, and a myriad of “going homes” celebrated under its canopy.


Over the past few years, its mighty branches spread beyond their natural border, blocking the light and turning nearby sun gardens into shade. But the sheer weight of its grace threatened to send the entire tree crashing to the ground.


With a heavy heart the arborist was called for a life-saving trim. By the end of the day, half its mighty size had fallen – and darkness was turned to light.

Willow After_IMG_0402

It’s a difficult week for our little plants to be so rudely awakened. With temperatures forecast in the 100’s, they are mourning the loss of the tree’s dappled kindness as much as the Mockingbirds are grieving the loss of their magnificent perch, and the butterflies their shade.

Naked Ladies_DSC_9059

Was that a fairy that sent the warrior tree trimmers running and screeching like little girls? No, just a common snake that used to call its fallen leaves ‘home’.

By this time next year, it’s awkwardly exposed limbs will be covered once again. And the tree will be happier and healthier for its overdue pruning. Sometimes, a little light must be shed to appreciate what lies in the shadows.


“I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Published by


I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

11 thoughts on “Wind in the Willow”

  1. These life-saving interventions are so, so, difficult to initiate, and you’ve helped all of us see how important they are for the willow, and ultimately for the entire garden. Meanwhile, time to send many a prayer for cooler temperatures for the newly displaced birds and bugs. Beautiful post.

    1. Thanks for your kind note, Liz. Cooler temperatures indeed. What a week we have ahead! As hard for the doggies as for the garden, birds and buggies. Everyone in the pool!

  2. Your photos are just beautiful, as always. Thank you so much for taking the time to help Buddy/aka Marshall when your garden needed you. Gosh, it was just too darn hot today. Your kindness was appreciated AND it worked!

    1. My pleasure, Linda! He’s such a good boy. Seems like the key is training people on how to make a good introduction so he can be the best “good citizen” he can be!

  3. Beautiful post, and all of those smiling doggy faces! It doesn’t take long for everything to adjust, a few weeks maybe, and the willow will be better for the intervention. Thank you for sharing the story of a tree and how important it can be in many lives 🙂

    1. You’re right. They will adjust. And our dogs and walkers have found other shady benches to explore! The tree looks happier already. All good in the end. 🙂

  4. The arborists did a great job on this magnificent tree. I like the lighter, dappled shade. Good job all around!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s