a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Jun, 2011


Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno|Misc. life

A few weeks ago I wrote about the dead tree on the front lawn. A short time later a City of Ottawa tree guy appeared on my doorstep and we went over what our options were. These were the trees we could choose from:

Large trees: Ginkgo, Hackberry, Red Oak

Medium trees: Red Maple, Honey Locust, Turkish Hazel

Small trees: Serviceberry, Crab Apple, Oakleaf Mountain Ash

Each of them are pretty in their own right, but we eventually picked the Ginkgo to replace our Maple. After our reno we will request a Serviceberry for the side yard. (We’re on a corner lot so we qualify for two city trees.)

The Ginkgo is an interesting tree. The leaf shape is gorgeous and it turns bright yellow in the fall. As a species the Ginkgo has been around for a long time. It’s practically a prehistoric tree, and because of that it’s evolved to become very bug/disease tolerant. It’s very long-lived too. It will outlive us by a long shot.

Anyway, the new tree isn’t going to be here in awhile. And the old one, well, it was taken down this morning. It took about 30 minutes. No one knew it was happening today, and the girls haven’t seen it yet.

I was lucky to be home when it happened. This is what it looked like from my perspective:

The red X

tree trim

cloud of wood

Piper was freaked out.

Maybe it was because of the noise, or maybe she knew someone was taking away The Place That Smells Like Pee and Carpenter Ants. Whatever the reason, she was quaking in her metaphorical boots.

Piper was skeeered


Flying tree


I asked the City guys to leave two stumps for the girls. They were very accommodating, which I appreciate. I’m going to dry them out, pour some polyurethane over them and use them as stools.

stumps for sitting upon

It is sad to lose a tree. I’m not looking forward to the girls coming home from school today.

11 Responses to "Limbless"

1 | Ross Brown

June 22nd, 2011 at 1:05 pm


It’s always sad to see on old tree come down. I hope your new tree works out.

2 | Wendy [mapsgirl]

June 22nd, 2011 at 1:41 pm


That is sad. I know it won’t be the same.

I do love the picture of Piper looking out the door.

3 | Elizabeth

June 22nd, 2011 at 1:50 pm


We lost a tree in front of our house a couple of years after we moved in. The City replaced it with a ginkgo, and we love it. The leaves are truly gorgeous, and my elder daughter loves to remind me that they do really look like a maiden’s hair. Just a warning, though. The tree the City planted was not more than a bare stick, and it has taken several years to look like a real tree. Now that it has come into its own though, the wait’s been worth it.

4 | Kathleen

June 22nd, 2011 at 1:59 pm


I think the girls will love their stump stools although I’m sure they’ll miss their tree. We just took down a Manitoba Maple from the backyard and have piles of stumps that we’d like to do something nice with. The tree wasn’t doing well in all the high winds we’ve been having and several times large branches cracked so we needed to take it down, but I miss it.

The kids have already integrated the remaining stump into their play — it was a stage for charades at a birthday party last night.

I hope you love your Ginko. Those are such pretty trees.

5 | The Westboro Urban Tree Challenge >> a peek inside the fishbowl

June 23rd, 2011 at 2:02 pm


[…] the whole saga with our tree the other day I got to thinking about a few things. (1) I am terrible at tree identification, and I think I […]

6 | DaniGirl

June 24th, 2011 at 2:54 pm


Sorry about your tree. :(

IMHI, do NOT get a honey locus(t) tree!!! We had one in B’haven, and those damn little leaves are a menace!!! (Also, a bunch of your pix in this post are showing “photo currently unavailable on Flickr”)

7 | andrea

June 24th, 2011 at 3:07 pm


Dani – Photos are fixed! (Weird.)
I do like the honey locust for it’s dappled shade, but you’re right. I imagine that the leaves are easier to hoover than to rake!

8 | Finola

June 29th, 2011 at 12:32 pm


We are looking to get a ginkgo for our front yard too. They are beautiful. And our seviceberries are ripe now, and although we have to fight off the squirrels, we get a large crop of them. They are tasty on their own, and excellent in muffins!

9 | Marla

July 15th, 2011 at 12:28 pm


Ack! It’s been forever since I chimed in, and I miss you terribly – and even I can’t believe this is the first thing I’ve said in ages – but the fruit of the ginko tree is SMELLY. We have on in the schoolyard, and for a month it smells like vomit, or rotting garbage:



10 | Brian Copeland

May 18th, 2012 at 6:25 pm


Ginkgo biloba actually is a prehistoric tree. The Maiden Hair Tree is the only surviving member of a class of trees that disappeared after the Cretaceous Period. It is resistant to acid rain, air pollution, water pollution, and has no natural enemies accept humans. Incidentally we farm them, and they have medicinal uses to us as well as ornamental value to us. They are excellent shade trees, very strong and provide shelter for many birds when height is reached that can support nests. If you have one of these trees coming to you, you are lucky, the air quality around your home will increase, because Ginkgo trees have accessory peroxizomes and can detoxify air easily no matter how polluted. This is believed to be a natural development for classes of trees that developed biological defenses against heavy volcanic activity that saturated parts of the earth with sulfurous gases and heavy carbon gases. Good luck with the new tree.

11 | Brian Copeland

May 18th, 2012 at 6:28 pm


oh, if the tree is female and the fruit drops and smells, lime it and it will neutralize the acids. The smell is a defense to keep animals from eating the seeds, apparently it works, they still exist… lol

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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