In 2000, we started looking for our first home. This place was too small, that one too expensive. Then we found one where the size was good and the price right because the couple was divorcing (it happens). I was sold on it at the curb because of the trees.
If you live in North Texas, you understand the attraction. You seek trees in hot parking lots and sports fields and just about anywhere else really, especially when there’s no breeze. I used to make the kids crisscross the street to the shadier side on their walk home from elementary school.
Two trees on the west side of our front yard provide a canopy of cool as you walk up the curvy sidewalk to the door. The first one you see is the Bradford pear.
This much-maligned ornamental lives 18-25 years because as it matures, the canopy spreads, pulling down limbs as it grows, even to the point of splitting at times. Some people don’t like the way they look so they cut them down. Their growth pattern makes it easy for nature to carve out a tree that IS hard to love.
Part of the issue with our property is that after we moved in, we realized that two other mature trees, not Bradford pears, should be cut down. The one on the west side of the house was dead. The one on the east side of the front of the house seemed to have three trunks and we feared one branch might be splitting and possibly falling onto the neighbor’s house. Nope, another goner.
I’m not just rooting for this Bradford pear’s longevity because now I only have two trees instead of three in the front yard.
No, I’m partial to the pear because it’s full of life —
even though it’s been cracked open by freezing rain,
neatly pecked by the street woodpecker
and otherwise disturbed by microbursts.
(I’m sure our neighbors across the way hate the view.)
So my husband carefully prunes those heavy branches. We sweep the flower detritus from the walkway and rake the leaves as the seasons require. And after every storm, we check on the Bradford pear first.
This is our welcome tree: Beautiful in its imperfection and ferociously resilient. I would like to be like that.
(By the way, the second tree, a native live oak, is doing well, providing shade over the roof and protection from hail. The squirrels love it, too.)