May 29, 2010
Here's the backstory:
Over a year ago, Mr. D's school sent the second graders home with saplings on Earth Day. It was a nice idea, but the tiny trees weren't actually all that sturdy, and almost every one of them died. Including Mr. D's. He was heartbroken, and we headed out to our favorite local nursery in hopes of learning more about how to properly raise a tree.
While walking around the grounds, Mr. D spotted a tree whose beauty went straight to his heart. "No, sweetie," we said, "that's a full grown tree. There's no way we could even fit that tree in our yard, let alone pay for it."
"Maybe they have a smaller one," he said hopefully.
And sure enough, there was a smaller tree - albeit still quite large - and it was a variety whose elongated shape would mean that we might be able to squeeze it onto our little tenth of an acre lot.
Still, there was the money question.
"Buddy," we said, "grown trees are expensive. You have to pay the nursery for all those years of caring for the tree. If we got a tree this big, it would mean that would have to be your birthday present. And probably your Christmas present, too." (We thought this might be a step on the way to moving his sights down to an even younger, smaller tree.)
But by now Mr. D had learned enough about this particular kind of tree that his heart was made up. (Ask him to extol the finer qualities of the columnar hornbeam to you sometime. But only if you have plenty of time.) So we asked them to save the tree, and started saving our pennies.
Hornbeams are best transplanted in the spring. Mr. D's birthday (on which he took his friends for a hike in the woods) came and went, as did Christmas. This past week, our side yard was the site of an impressive and long-awaited transplant operation.
These pictures don't do it justice. But the tree will be there for a long time. You could come see for yourself.