Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Little Tree That Could

A couple of summers ago a fairly significant storm blew through Small Town. It wasn't a tornado, but in about four minutes half the trees in the backyard of the House on the Corner decided they'd had enough of that whole standing upright nonsense. The resulting bloodbath (sapbath?) of lumber meant we carted out the tree that had provided shade to most of the back of the house, and I wept sweaty tears.

Obviously we wanted to replace the tree, so we called our local landscaping guy and told him what we wanted: A tree that would be beautiful in both spring and fall, one that didn't shed a lot of trash (we already have a sweetgum back there, and holy cow, if there were a market for sweetgum pods we would be millionaires), and one that would grow fairly fast. Oh, and we didn't want to spend much money.

Local landscaping guy had just the thing--a young maple that had been hanging around for a while, so he could give it to us half price. It would be a year ahead of the others we were planting, and soon would provide shade for the whole back yard, he enthused!

Now, after two years, we know we bought the remedial maple. It's charming and likeable, but those few red leaves you see above? That's the whole crop.

By contrast the trees in the next door neighbor's yard that are the same age are in the gifted class. See?

But because we are tenderhearted and generally root for the underdog, we're giving our well-meaning-but-inept maple another year before we decide to put it out of its misery. It may be lousy for shade, but at least we don't have to rake many leaves.

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