When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. ~Author Unknown
What’s a homeowner to do when landscaping doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to?
When trees that are supposed to grow tall, don’t? When things planted as trees become shrubs instead?
Two years ago, my sis and I gifted our mom an Eastern Redbud for Mother’s Day.
Since Sis lives far away, I was in charge of picking it out, getting it home, having it planted, and caring for it.
Thus, it became my tree, and I’ll admit I tackled the responsibility with diligence.
At first, it was more of a stick than anything else. I got it in February when it was devoid of leaves, but I had hopes it would live and thrive.
We chose a spot in the backyard, where Mom could enjoy it and I could tend it. Which I did: watering it, staking it so it would grow straight and tall, and making sure pests didn’t bother it.
That Spring, it produced a few flowers, but it seemed to come into its own in the Summer, when its leaves became a lovely shade of heart-shaped green.
The next Spring, I was rewarded with a profusion of tiny, lavender-colored flowers encircling my tree’s trunk and branches like a lacy garnish:
Summer came, and I was able to remove the stake, delighted my tree could ride without training wheels. Its trunk grew chunky (nearly 3 inches in diameter), and healthy leaves enveloped its crown:
Then 2020 showed up.
We all know it’s been a challenging year on many fronts, and extra time on my hands meant I could devote more attention to my tree.
But when a scorching summer sun and scanty rainfall caused its leaves to shrivel and turn brown, I consulted a tree expert.
I pointed out that numerous branches had sprung up at the ground near my tree’s trunk, and those looked fine. It was the “parent tree” that looked sickly.
‘We’ll just chop it down,’ he said, and before I could blink, two years of nurturing vanished!
When I finally found my voice, I asked if the tree would survive — even as a shrub.
‘Probably,’ he said. ‘If not, we’ll cut the rest down.’
Over my cold, dead body, I thought, deciding then and there to guard my shrub to new life.
I’ve been watching and hoping since then, and so far, so good.
Its leaves are HUGE — nearly the size of a dinner plate! — and it’s growing wild and free, thanks to cooler temperatures and some much-needed rain.
Mom regularly asks me when I’m going to shape it into a tree again, but I’m holding off.
Why mess with a good thing?