Garden Photo of the Day

Honoring a Beloved Old Tree

A beloved oak tree lives on as a sculpture

Mary Morgan shared these photos of her parent’s garden near Redding California (Zone 9). Here, beautiful flowers combine with a very creative way to preserve an old, beloved, but ailing tree in the garden.

In the backyard of the garden was a huge old oak tree overlooking the Sacramento River. The tree was ailing, and Mary’s father had many arborists out to try and save it for year.s. They said it was over 200 years old, but unfortunately, it could not be saved. Instead of just cutting the beloved tree down, they turned the trunk into a chainsaw sculpture of the fisherman and fish. The sculpture stands over 13 feet tall and is a beautiful tribute to a well-loved tree.

To further carry on the legacy of that mighty tree, they planted acorns from the tree around it. Those acorns have grown into trees, and stand on either side of the sculpture. Those tree stand, looking over the river, reminding us that new live comes again after death.

Mary’s parent’s had a plain rock border in front, and three years ago Mary added a mound of dirt and six rhizomes of bearded irises (Iris germanica, Zone 4 – 9) for colorful interest. She chose early, middle and late and reblooming tall bearded irises for a longer bloom time. You can see how much those six original rhizomes have multiplied in just a few years! Not visible now, crocuses, daffodils and lily bulbs extend the show, and later they plant annuals around the mound to keep color coming after the irises have finished their bloom.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/28/2018

    Oh, my word! In the first pic I thought it was 2 people standing looking at the river. The carving is wonderful! And those irises are just gorgeous.

  2. Maggieat11 03/28/2018

    A wonderful tribute and a gorgeous view.

  3. flowerladydi 03/28/2018

    What a lovely story and beautiful rememberance! Also such a picturesque yard not only being so well manicured, but to have the river there is so very nice! Great sculpture!!! Looks so real!!!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/28/2018

    Good morning, Mary, your story of a very beloved senior citizen tree will certainly touch a chord with many of us. The solution to keep its memory alive and still add beauty to the setting is quite extraordinary. After the chain saw artist worked his magic, was the finished sculpture heavily treated with any sort of preservative or varnish to protect the wood from deterioration? The bed of iris is gorgeous and I'll bet those fall rebloomers are an extra special treat.

    1. user-7024427 03/28/2018

      Thank you. They preserve the sculpture with a marine varnish that is used on boats. It has to be revarnished every 5-7 years.

  5. btucker9675 03/28/2018

    What a wonderful story and the "children" of the original tree now gathered around the sculpture - just lovely!

  6. foxglove12 03/28/2018

    What a beautiful story and beautiful property. Thanks for sharing.

  7. sheila_schultz 03/28/2018

    What a wonderful story that has indeed touched my heart. Thank you Mary.

  8. cheryl_c 03/28/2018

    Wonderful story - very nice sculpture. And so pleased that the babies will grow up in an area that otherwise would not have been hospitable. We had to take out a 200 year old ash tree -wish we'd thought to do a sculpture with it!

  9. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 03/28/2018

    What a beautiful garden story and great setting. We had a huge 300 yr old Madrone tree that had to go when we bought our house. We have a burl from the tree that we hope to do something with when it dries out, but doing a carving would have been so much better.

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