Happy Arbor Day!

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Shortly after we bought our house a little over 14 years ago, a note arrived in the mail from the Arbor Day Foundation, offering us "10 trees" for a $10 membership fee. We liked trees, so decided sure, why not, and sent in our money. Our "trees" arrived in the mail I believe in March, and consisted of a plastic bag with 10 straight sticks no more than 6 inches long. They didn't look like much, and since it was still pretty chilly outside we put the bag in the garage and promptly forgot all about it.

Summer came and we discovered the forgotten bag of "trees", the sticks all covered with some sort of white mold from the months of dark neglect. Feeling guilty and expecting little to come from it, we washed them down, prepared a big pot of vermiculite and half-buried the sticks. It wasn't long before buds appeared on 9 of the 10, and by fall they had doubled in size. The next year all 9 were thriving - it turned out we had 2 dogwoods, 2 hawthorns, 2 redbuds, 2 goldenraintrees and 1 crabapple (the second crabapple was the only casualty of our neglect).

Within a few years the hawthorns, which we'd put in a somewhat shady spot under some old oak trees, had acquired a fatal disease, and were no more. But the other seven trees are still a part of our lives - we found spots around our yard and planted them, and over time they've provided us with great beauty. The dogwood flowers are a plain white-ish yellow, but still pretty in full bloom. The redbuds cover themselves in tiny pinkish-red flowers at this time of year:

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Most surprising to me is the crabapple (first photo above and this one below). It's pretty plain most of the year around, but the profusion of flowers in the spring is wonderful, and there's a sweet scent that comes with it. Without even realizing it was Arbor Day this morning I wandered under our crabapple, just exulting in the beauty, remembering its inauspicious start to life.

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Trees are wonderful. If you can, go plant some, and they will give joy for years to come.