Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Good Day in the Garden

Pea seedlings
This is for everyone who has been listening to me gripe that if I don't get some decent garden time soon, I'll probably implode.

Implosion averted.  Yesterday we had decent weather in the a.m., which was good because there was a big city-wide tree planting.  About a year ago I received a letter asking if I would like a free tree in front of my house.  Now my block is really lacking in trees, so I said yes.  I heard nothing more until a few weeks ago, when I got another letter telling me that planting would be 4/16, and that I would come home one day to find a tree pit dug in front of my house.  They included a map and asked me to put an X where I wanted the pit.

I came home this week to a tree pit, dug in precisely the wrong place in front of my house - about 2 feet away from the water and gas lines, which had been clearly marked by the city.  I try contacting the tree people but never hear back.  I decide not to bother, because the letter also said smaller, under-canopy type trees, and I figure those won't be much competition anyway.

So yesterday arrives, and eventually, so does my tree.  It's a cercidiphyllum japonicum.  My tree Latin is lacking, so all I get is the Japanese part.  I look it up.  It's a Katsura, which apparently grows into one big sucker of a street tree.  Because I have no electric wires on my property front, they decided that I got a big tree - the utility companies have this tendency to cut big notches in street trees so the wires can pass through, and I guess the temptation to plant a 40-footer was just irresistable.

Nothing shows your faith in the future like planting something you won't be around to see full grown.  I decided not to care about the utilities under the sidewalk - they were redone with in the last 5-10 years and won't fail until long after I'm out of this house and the tree is a lot bigger.

Garlic's up!
 The back yard, now, is doing exactly as it's supposed to.  I dug in 40 lbs. of compost today in the veggie beds.  The garlic is about a foot tall now.  My peas have just broken ground in their pots.  The blueberry bushes all made it through the winter and are leafing out, as is the lilac.  There are still a lot of spring bulbs blooming.  A really hard rain yesterday beat the lilac up some, but everything else looks pretty happy.
And at least I won't need to water the new tree for a few days.

Now it's late, my back's too sore to sew, I'm so tired I'm too tired to sleep, and I'm happy.  (But whoever it was who spread the myth that gardening was a ladylike activity, obviously never got their hands dirty).

Tomorrow is another day.  One with fabric involved, if I can sit comfortably in the sewing chair.


Michelle said...

I can grow plants in the house...but anything outside I am a complete failure with. Of course, it is not helped by my husband's philosophy of landscaping which is "You can mow it, right?"

patsijean said...

Only 2 feet from water and gas lines? The tree roots will tangle up in those service lines in only a few years and you will be responsible for repair. A tree's roots extend out beyond the canopy otherwise it would fall. Those roots will spread--they have to.

I would find out more about which species the tree is and insist on a relocation based on that. If the tree will grow too large for your lot they need to also replace the tree.

patsijean said...

I also found a photo of the largest species Japonicum and it is very pretty. As a specimen tree in cultivation, it does not seem to be as large as described in the wild. Lovely tree.

I would still have it moved away from utility lines.