Wedding Traditions: Something Old, Something New

The Transformational Story of the Heirloom Scotch Pine at the Heart of The Gardens

Kahlil Gebran, the Lebanese-American poet once wrote, “Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” That quote was from a book published in 1926, which roughly corresponds to the age of our beloved Scotch Pine tree; by all estimates it’s between 80 and 100 years old. In that time, both The Gardens and the world at large have seen an absolute myriad of changes, both large and small. But through everything, this beautiful tree has remained a constant facet on the land and in the day-to-day events and operations that have surrounded it. But now, it’s time to bid our iconic tree farewell.

Over the last eight months, a fungus called Diplodia has sadly killed our beloved tree. At the start of the 2023 wedding season, the Scotch Pine was resplendently adorned with rich green needles reaching skyward. But during the 2023 wedding season, the green needles turned to brown as the fungus spread through the entire tree. The tree will be coming down in a slow and meticulous fashion in order to salvage its large limbs and branches.  The salvaged pieces are being repurposed into an exciting new timber structure here at The Gardens.

While we are devastated to loose such a integral focal point of The Gardens, especially one with such meaning, the Scotch Pine’s next chapter has been developing over the last several months. As it became apparent that we would lose the entire tree, Glenn began designing and brainstorming potential ways to repurpose the timber. The limbs and branches from the tree will be fashioned into a new structure using an early style of framing known as cruck framing. This type of framing uses naturally shaped logs to create an arch with the branches, called cruck blades. As you’ll see in a sketch below, we will use the curved parts of the Scotch Pine to bring the cruck frame to life. This tree has watched over hundreds of weddings at The Gardens, and it will continue to do so in another form. To watch the process unfold, follow The Workshop at The Gardens.

It’s amazing to think that the Scotch Pine has played such an integral part of every wedding at The Gardens, whether providing shade for guests, being a conversation starter, or acting as the backdrop for countless family portraits. We just couldn’t get enough of this tree!  We hope you enjoy the following photos as much as we do.

The Gardens’ Scotch Pine may have died, but we can’t help marvel how glorious it looks in the setting sun.

In the 1970’s, the Scotch Pine stood strong and healthy when the property was a nursery.

Switzer’s Kids Nursery….trees, shrubs and occasional weeds for sale….underneath the Scotch Pine as it served as the base of operations for Glenn’s first business, circa 1970s.

The field behind the Scotch Pine in this photo now holds our Wedding Reception Tent. Circa 1970’s.

Three generations of Switzers and their nursery crew beneath the Scotch Pine, circa 1970’s.

In the 1980’s, the Scotch Pine sat as a welcoming island amongst the trucks of the past landscaping business. Can you spot where the Lath House was eventually built?

The Scotch Pine in the 1990’s, complete with a brand new Lath House!

The Scotch Pine’s beautiful textured bark added warmth and texture to the The Gardens and what makes it so special.

From a distance, it’s difficult to tell that the tree is a pine. But on closer inspection, the Scotch Pine is made up of thousands of these wispy needles.

In April of 2023…the Scotch Pine looked healthy and green, even posing with the bride and groom for this sweet kiss. Photo by: Studio 220 Photography

In June 2023, just two months into wedding season, the vibrant Scotch Pine had turned brown. A sure sign that something was going on and it wasn’t good. Photo by: Charise Healy Photography

A rough sketch of the timber structure that the Scotch Pine will become – notice the cruck frame.

The grand Scotch Pine makes the perfect backdrop as the wedding baraat arrives at the Grand Promenade! Photo by: Anthologie Photography

The twisted limbs of the tree make for an opportune spot to sneak a couple photos of the ceremony in the Lath House.

The Scotch Pine watches over another beautiful wedding ceremony in the Lath House.

The huge shapely golden-brown boughs of the Scotch Pine shade the walkway to the Lath House.

What is stately, strong and perfectly proportioned? What is our Scotch Pine, Alex (That’s a Jeopardy reference).

Have you ever heard the saying, “You’re missing the forest for the trees.”? In this case, focusing on the Scotch Pine tree is a good thing.

The colors, sizes and textures of all the different trees, bushes, plants and flowers matched perfectly with the strong Scotch Pine.

The celebration continues post ceremony. Silver lining…..the brown Scotch Pine actually coordinates with the wedding parties’ color scheme.

Our 2023 wedding couples still took advantage of posing near the Scotch Pine. Photo by: Bailey Creative Co

Want to know a photography tip? An overcast sky is terrific for shooting a wedding. Why? Colors pop….even if they’re brown. Photo by: Bailey Creative Co

Have you ever seen pure happiness? Now you have! The Scotch Pine happily takes a back seat for this bride’s wedding day in the Lath House. Photo by: Bradley Hanson Photography

Post ceremony celebratory drink with the trunk of the Scotch Pine in the background. Photo by: Bradley Hanson Photography

Curious as to what diplodia is? You’re in luck because I’m going to tell you! Diplodia is a fungus that kills young needles and actively growing shoots of pine trees that have two to three needles per bundle. That would be a Scotch Pine! Photo by: Bradley Hanson Photography

The setting sun shining through the pine branches created the perfect romantic sunset photo opportunity. Photo by: Coral Mia Photography

Loved that last photo? Here’s another. You’re welcome. Photo by: Coral Mia Photography

I’d like to say, “Ah, a photo of the good old days when the Scotch Pine was healthy and green.” But this was only in early spring 2023. Diplodia moves fast. Photo by: Elle Johnson Photography

Can you see the Scotch Pine in this photo? It’s not hard. It’s in the far background. Its brown color is a dead giveaway. (Apologizes for the pun.) Photo by: Fox & Loon Photography

Perfect backdrop for this couple. Photo by: Jeannine Marie Photography

Many pleasant afternoons have been spent under the shade of the Scotch Pine. Photo by: Eric Lundgren Photography

Once the Scotch Pine is removed, the space will definitely feel open. But, in time the tree will return as an impressive cruck timber frame. Photo by: Render Photography

When someone looks at you like these two are looking at each other, you probably don’t notice much else……let alone a brown Scotch Pine tree. Photo by: Render Photography

The Scotch Pine has gotten a lot of attention, I mean how many photos of one tree can we look at!?! Let’s give the gorgeous redbud tree its moment. As one of the first signs of spring, the redbud is always a welcome sight. Photo by: Wilde Photography

The Scotch Pine sure does an amazing job of framing the sunset for a romantic shot like this. Photo by: Chelsea Reeck Photography


*All photos that do not list a photo credit were taken by a Gardens of Castle Rock Team Member.

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