In November of 2011 a difficult decision was made to have 5 huge pine trees removed from our property. They were planted along the property line by the former homeowner, about 40 years prior. Bordering the west side of our driveway, assuming at one time, they must have provided a wind block when they were younger.
Through the years, the roots encroached into the side of the paved driveway and began to heave it in places, and after years of root growth, the once level terrain had now become a partial slope, unfortunately with the low side meeting the driveway. There wasn’t any room to divert the water away from the driveway which sometimes caused a few trickles in the garage and basement in times of heavy rainfall.
If there had been no paved driveway, and a permeable surface such as gravel or shale laid instead, the entire area would have been able to drain more freely into the surrounding soil, but because such a large area was covered by paving, there was no place for the water to go.
After hurricane Irene and then tropical storm Lee just weeks apart in August and September of 2011, our basement took on 4 inches of water. It was at that point we knew we needed to create a new drainage swale for the runoff.
Since we only have about 20 feet from the edge of the driveway to the property line, we knew the trees had to go to allow us to create the swale.
We had them removed and gave the pine logs to a friend who uses an outdoor wood burner for heating his home. Not having been aware of Hugelkultur at the time, we could have kept them for later use in berms.
The limbs were chipped and the mulch was left for us to use in the gardens.
We originally planned to have the re-grading work done in the spring of 2012 and after its completion we were going to start planting a hedgerow for the newly needed privacy and wind break. But something took precedence over the work.
Sunflower seedlings began to emerge throughout the whole area. I wondered how they got there and in such abundance. Maybe the birds dropped them while perched in the branches of the trees. Or possibly a stray sunflower head landed up in the area and was dragged across the ground by the branches of the pines as they were removed and chipped. Or maybe it was just nature doing what she does best, creating masterpieces.
For now, our re-grading project and hedgerow are on hold. We are enjoying their show alongside our driveway. We see them first thing every morning as we have our coffee at the breakfast bar. They are at their peak now and when they have exhausted themselves, we will continue with our plans, if nature allows us to.