(This is the first installment of The Hidden Life of the Hideous Tree, a nine-part series about discovering nature in my front yard. Subsequent parts are available on the blog here, and the entire project with additional images is available as an e-book.)
It’s a tree only a bird could love. It wasn’t always this way.
The man who originally owned my house must have spent hundreds — if not thousands — of hours carefully sculpting the Wych elm he imported from Europe. He allowed a single column to grow to a height of about 10 feet, pruning any stray growth below the crown. Branches fanned out from the top, but he forced those to point back down to the ground.