This week I received 76 tree seedlings and 30 bushes free of charge because they were ‘surplus’ from a local project: White Pine, Red Maple, White Birch, Sugar Maple, Bur Oak, Tamarack, Cedar, Sweet Gale, and Pagoda Dogwood. All were bare root seedlings (not planted in a pretty one gallon container) ranging in height from 12-36 inches (up to one meter). I assured the donor that I could definitely find homes on my property for every living plant, even though I re-gifted 10 trees to my son Darin for his home.
I had been expecting them, so I carefully drew up a map of where I wanted to plant all these wonderful trees and bushes. It was truly a gift to receive them. Most of the trees were planted along the sides of my property where they wouldn’t interfere with the gorgeous sunlight that feeds my soul and my garden – and maybe some day, solar panels. White Pines were interspersed with Cedars and Sugar Maples nearest the house. I thought that the Sugar Maples should be close so I can tap them in about 25 or 30 years to make maple syrup – maybe I’ll be like my Gramma who was active and busy when she was over 90 years old. Sometimes there’s still snow on the ground when the Maples are tapped so being closer would be easy….. right? Tamaracks and Cedars were planted down by the river since they like it wetter. Some Red Maples and Bur Oaks were planted about halfway up the yard. I tucked in a few Pagoda Dogwoods and Sweet Gale right along the riverside where they will thrive. Most of the White Birch were reserved for the front of my house near the road where it’s drier. They’ll grow up amongst the other maples, cedars, ash, and a variety of bushes.
The majority of Sweet Gale and Pagoda Dogwood bushes are destined for my ditch by the road. It’s been an ongoing battle for me over the past few years, to keep my ditch perfectly manicured. The sides are so steep that it’s very difficult for me to trim the grass. So last fall, I decided to give in and let it be. I’ll leave the centre of the ditch for the water to flow (or more like, sit and evaporate since it doesn’t really flow anywhere). I have other bushes to add including Forsythia (which I have rooting in the kitchen), Hydrangea bushes (ready to be dug out from beside their momma bush), False Spirea (which has multiplied from the original single bush dozens of times over), Ostrich Ferns (which grow prolifically around here), Orange Daylilies (which desperately need dividing anyway), and that blasted Goutweed (which has invaded every garden – brought accidently into my garden with a friendly transplant). So let the grass grow! Soon it will be smothered by these other plants.
I reserved the three best trees for my three grandchildren who do not have a tree planted in their name yet. To date, only 11 year old Kalia has a Ginko Biloba, 9 year old Livi has a Mountain Ash, and Spirit Baby has a White Pine.
I realize that I will likely never see these trees grow to maturity unless I live to be 100. But as I planted each stick of a seedling, I wished it well on its journey and asked it to share its beauty with my children and grandchildren and whoever else might some day lay eyes on its magnificence. My gift, my living legacy