One of the key elements of our property are the two green Japanese Maples that I grew from seedlings. They are now glorious 25 foot tall trees on either side of the house with multi-season interest.
We have many other Japanese Maples but none of the others produce the prodigious crop of seedlings that come from these two trees. For years the kids potted up some of the seedlings and we passed them on to friends. At one point I put some of the potted trees into the garden just to hold them over during periods of limited water and then for overwintering. Well season passed into season and they have gotten quite large. It was getting to the now or never point for these lovely little trees so I dug them out this week (digging is the term since the roots had gone well beyond their pots).
With this many little trees it seemed appropriate to create a little Maple Allee in the lower pasture. So I took the mower and cut an S-shaped avenue in the high grass with the end point at the two most recent Christmas trees which had been planted at the far side of the pasture.
With the help of the tractor I dug holes on either side of the swath and planted the little Maple trees. This is a lousy time to be transplanting trees but I decided that the task could not wait for another season.
At the mid point of the path I placed an Amur Cherry (Prunus Mackii) that I had grown similarly in the garden (beginning with a tiny internet purchase that was now 6 foot high). However there were still more plants that I had placed (temporarily, several years ago) into the potting row. These included two Redwoods, a Twisted White Pine, and an Italian Stone Pine.
The Giant Redwood deserves special mention because I have a history of planting Sequoias on the East Coast. When we lived in an Alexandria suburb I planted a Giant Redwood about 15 feet from the front porch. This was 35 years ago. The last time we drove by the tree was still there but instead of the little 8 inch high plant I had put in, it’s now a huge tree — utterly inappropriate for the location. Why, you ask, would I do such a thing. Well it was directly inspired by Wendall Berry’s Mad Farmer Liberation Front where he says
“Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.”
And so, once again, I began here with a little Sequoia sprout that, after growing in the garden for years, is ready for the millennia.
The Sequoiadendron giganteum is actually reasonably hardy in Maryland. The Coastal Redwood and the Italian Stone Pine are more of a stretch. But each has a special place in my memory from growing up in California. They have persisted for a number of years in the sheltered environment of the vegetable garden and now we shall set them free…