The big hollow stumps sat at the bottom of our hill for months, abandoned and lonely at road’s edge, the rest of the diced-up tree hauled off for firewood.

I’ve always liked planting hollow tree stumps. It’s kind of a full circle thing, a natural flowers-to-wood remembrance, a much better ending than going up in smoke.

Locust stumps (Robinia pseudoacia) make some of the best planters, a tougher wood not prone to rotting, which, of course, makes them harder to find.

My new flower stumps are a softer wood, perhaps good for two or three years before rotting to compost, and much better than clay, porcelain or plastic for feel-good aesthetic.

So, I drove by them two, three even four times a day, wanting them, fearing someone would beat me to them, knowing at several hundred pounds they were way too heavy for me to lift into my pickup, plotting how to get them up our hill, home, flowers to follow.

The problem was solved thanks to our Utica Street Department. The stumps were on city property, thus absolutely a complete and utter public nuisance, a continual threat to city employees cutting grass.

We all agreed on that.

So up the hill they came riding the two front forks of a big city-owned tractor, then carefully placed in my tax-paying yard, old bricks and limestone blocks added beneath to hold them reasonably level, firm and in place.

The stumps’ new home is in filtered shade along the driveway. I can already see bright pink impatiens tightly mounding up in them, perhaps frothy red begonias, even green hostas.

Mission accomplished. Stay tuned for happy-planting photos. Sure, it’s November, but can spring be far behind.

What would you plant in my hollow stumps?