In April we moved in the same manner a Silver Maple, which has grown nine feet and ten inches, and a stocky White Willow, which has been put quite near the house to give us immediate shade, of which we are greatly in need, and which is to be cut down as soon as the Maples are big enough. This last tree, set in a very dry place, has grown a dense head nine feet six inches in height, so that it is now a tree seventeen feet high.
These are the best we have to show, except a Catalpa, which has made a most luxuriant growth, for our Ash-leaved Maple, which was also disposed to make a record, has been moved twice and so set back. But this growth on a gravel-bank, where no one thought that trees could be made to live at all, is not to be despised. Some of the other trees have grown almost equally well, but were not so large to begin with, so they seem less important.
In that same April the generous friend who furnished us with the large Willow and the Silver Maple, kindly sent us, in addition, a dozen moderate-sized trees which he was disposed to think would grow faster than the larger ones; and these were placed somewhat at random on the lawn, for they came unexpectedly, and had to be set without much reflection, so that some of them have had to be moved again.
And here we will honestly admit that the landscape-gardener would have been of great use to us, for the lack of experience gives one a feeling of uncertainty about the result of even his best - considered arrangement, which is often disquieting.
We know for one thing that we have too many trees too near together, because we never dreamed they would all make up their minds to live, and we discover that after taking great pains to make a tree grow, we cannot make up our minds to disturb it for fear it will be in the way in the future, and so we postpone the evil day. Possibly they will do better in their wind-swept situation for not being widely separated, and for the next generation, which will be unrestrained by our sentiments, we have provided some small Elms that ought to be good trees by the time the short-lived Maples are beginning to shuffle off their mortal coil. We know that the least enduring of them will outlive us, unless we emulate old Parr, and the famous Countess of Desmond, Who lived to the age of a hundred and ten, And died by a fall from a Cherry-tree then.
All we ask is that they will hurry to shelter us from the burning afternoon sun, to which our front is exposed, and when their task is done, the noble Elms, which are "a hundred years growing, a hundred years standing, a hundred years dying," shall be our monument when this house, like its ancient predecessor, shall have crumbled to ruin.
Impatient as we are to achieve miracles of growth, we might forget how much our little trees are doing were it not for a photograph taken in 1888, which shows them scudding under bare poles, that makes their present height quite imposing by contrast.
In the five years which we claimed of our critics in the beginning, we are now sure that all air of newness will have gone from the knoll, which, even in the second summer, astonished the passers-by, who were most of them unused to the results that can be attained by unremitting exertions.