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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