BY JOYCE KILMER
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
We have acquired 25 trees over the 30 years that we have lived in this house. Sadly, only four have survived. I even purchased 10 trees from the Arbor Day Foundation
They suffered the worst fate of all. My husband didn’t notice where I had planted them, and when we purchased a shed, he moved it on top of my newly planted trees!
Trees from school
The first trees we acquired were given to our children in elementary school. Each of our three children brought a tree home, but only one survived. It has small leaves and is on the west side of our home. It’s Derek’s tree because he is the one who brought it home.
The tree in front of our home is “Luke’s tree.” He didn’t bring it home, it was one of 10 trees that my husband dug up out of Janie’s back yard. She lived on a wooded cul-de-sac and wanted to have more than trees in the backyard. She told him to dig out as many as he could because she was cutting the rest down.
He brought them home in the back of our Chevy Chevette!
10 free trees in the back of a Chevy Chevette.
We planted them all around the house and faithfully watered them, but it was a drought year. The trees had been living under mature trees, and when they were stuck in the clay around our house under full sun, the leaves got sunburned and then fell off.
We hoped they would come back to life the next spring, but they were gone. Our yard looked like a graveyard for trees.
Only one tree retained its leaves and it was planted by Luke’s bedroom window. It was on the west side of the house and was sheltered from the sun for half of the day. A few years later, we moved it to the south side of the house. It now graces our front yard.
The tree in our back yard is “Bob’s Tree.” Bob would never mow over a volunteer tree. He dug them out, planted them in metal coffee cans, and then gave them away.
We planted it on the edge of our dream deck. (Yeah, we are still dreaming about it!) At the time, I didn’t know about “One Call.” It is a phone number in Iowa that will contact everyone who may have a line buried underground: telephone, water, sewer, cable, etc.
I managed to plant “Bob’s Tree” on top of our sewer line! I was amazed at how quickly it took off and flourished! (We also had to have a service start coming to clean out our pipes from tree roots!)
Bob died of cancer a few years later, and I was grateful to have a living reminder of that amazing man.
This tree we purchased when my mother-in-law passed away using part of the inheritance. It was the same year that a blight attacked all of the evergreens in town. My neighbor to the east had a beautiful tree he decorated every Christmas. The blight got it, along with three others on his property, and he had to remove them all.
It was huge and provided shade in the mornings. After it was gone, my picture window was in the sun starting at 7:30 a.m. I had to keep the drapes closed to keep the house from boiling!
We chose a Japanese Iris to remember her by. It has off-white blooms in the spring. It is not showy and rather petite…a lot like Phyllis. It will grow taller than our house and will shade that picture window eventually.
Your free trees
You have free trees at your disposal. They are growing in your flowerbeds, rock gardens, yard, and even gutters. A tree grows amazingly fast. Don’t wait to find money to purchase a large tree.
Plant a free tree.
My four trees. The fifth one on the right in the back belongs to a neighbor.