Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nature Notes: You Get What You Pay For

Back in April, we were thrilled to be able to order 20 very inexpensive trees from our Soil and Water Conservation District - a fantastically helpful group of people who have sent me loads of information on everything from planting native species to tax breaks for conservation measures we could take.

Keeping in mind the great suggestions sent by Sally and the District's guide, we chose redbuds and American plums for flowers and wild fruit, and swamp chestnut oaks for the sketchy parts of the wetlands.

The day came to pick up our baby forest, and I insisted on keeping the minivan that day in order to have room for all the trees. I arrived at the 4H Fairgrounds to find the parking lot full and dozens of families milling about, moseying in and out of the assigned barn. It was like a carnival, everyone happy and excited, optimism wafting through the air like sweet wood smoke. I took my number, and shortly I was standing at a folding table waiting eagerly for my order.

Then the attendant arrived with a paper-wrapped bundle about 10 inches around and two feet long. It contained all 20 of my trees. Crestfallen, I began to regret the squabble over the minivan.

The Hubby got a good laugh at my expense but, as he is a good sport about these things, set out with me to plant my barely rooted twigs. The first one was a plum. I carefully considered where to place it "so it wouldn't block the view of the pond". He looked at the twig. He looked at me. We both burst out laughing, stuffed it in a hole and moved on. By the end of the project we were planting at random, wherever we felt like digging would be easiest.

I have them all staked with flags - we'd never be able to find them again otherwise. And next year I'll fork over the dough for some actual saplings.

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ramblingwoods said...

Oh gosh...LOL..that is too funny. I am so sorry they were so...small. Will something that small really take hold? I hope they do.. My husband would still be laughing at me.... and you made me chuckle and I needed it today... Michelle

lifeshighway said...

Very funny and thank you for the helpful graphic or I would have never found "the tree".

Alas this would be a favorite family tale told at my house. Over and over again, especially involving the minivan or in my case the pickup truck.

A piece of news said...

But wait! Perhaps you haven't seen my li-bud tree photos on my blog. I got 10 trees from the Arbor Day folks and I had no idea what I was doing ... NO IDEA. They all got put in the same hole. That's why I have a redbud tree and a lilac bush sharing the same spot. However, in the space of about 6 years, I have to say that the tree itself has grown very nicely indeed. I am pleased with it. I just wish I knew what I was doing at the time because the tree didn't get the support it needed. However, Mother Nature looks after fools like me: she either kills us or pities us.

MyMaracas said...

Michelle, glad to have made you smile. I'll be surprised if any of them make it.

Life, I'm sure I'll be hearing about it from time to time. My son laughed so hard he cried when he saw my carefully staked little twigs.

News, that actually sounds pretty nice, a redbud and lilac in the same spot. I may try that.

Thyra said...

Hej! This was really a funny story!
Maybe you should take those little twigs inside if it is too cold! ')

Carver said...

Gosh that sounds like something that would happen to me. I live in the triangle area of NC and I have pretty sizable self seeded redbuds (volunteers from established trees). Some of mine are big and if I could figure out how to ship them to you, I'd dig them up. Some I let grow because they show up somewhere I could use a tree but some are places I don't want them and I've waited too long to pull up so I was going to get them with lopping irons. I could try digging them up but I wouldn't have a clue how to ship them safely. I'm talking about some that are up to my shoulder. Same with several other species. I hate just cutting them down but I get so many volunteers.

Crafty Green Poet said...

well i hope the trees grow big and strong and give you years of enjoyment!

eileeninmd said...

It is kind of funny about the van. But you can be surprised at well those twigs grow.

MyMaracas said...

Thyra, I probably should have put them in pots or heeled them into the garden for a few years. Eileen, I hope you're right and the do take hold. Crafty, thanks! They can use all the good thoughts they can get.

Carver, I'm SO jealous! I love redbuds and don't have a one. Thanks for the generous thoughts - if we were close, I'd love to come and get your volunteers.

EG Wow said...

Oh dear, live and learn! I wonder how quickly the trees will grow. Maybe not a lot the first year as they are so busy making roots. But in two or three years you may have a lovely grouping of plums, redbuds and oaks.

NicoleB, Egypt said...

Well, at least you didn't have to dig deep holes and rent a whole truck! :)
Looking forward to see how they'll do :)