Over the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about aging. It’s not a constant thought — just one of those nagging inner voices that likes to pop up every so often. I think it’s because of my thumbs.
Our royal palm came down the other day — not by wind or disease, but by choice and chainsaw. It had simply become too worrisome, too big for its britches, too big for our own good.
If seeds could talk, I wonder what tales they would tell.
I’m sure they would recite their perfect equation of soil, light, and water for their optimum germination. They wouldn’t even wait for us to ask. They would just offer that info up at the start of the conversation. Seeds are funny that way.
I wonder, though, if they would be willing to share with us their story? That perhaps their great-great-great-great grandfather hitched a ride on Paul Revere’s coat on his famous midnight ride? Or that they, in fact, escaped from a research lab looking to build a better seed?
We can learn a lot from trees. I first realized this after visiting the Survivor Tree at Ground Zero — and now, in the wake of Sandy, trees continue to teach me.
Take a look at this one. It’s a Bradford Pear — or, rather, what’s left of a Bradford Pear.
It was planted years ago, along with two others, by a local business interested in prettying up a very busy street corner. I remember when they were all planted. I was thrilled — at last, a business was taking an interest in beautifying the community.
Besides, at the time, the Bradford Pear was the tree of the moment, planted by towns and homeowners because of its flowering beauty, graceful shape, and instant shade ability. Their abundance in the landscape — both public and private — turned spring into a flowering tree extravaganza.
The trees planted by this business did what they were expected to do — especially on hot summer days when residents huddled under their cool shade while waiting for the public bus.
But one by one, the trees have disappeared. One was badly damaged after being hit by a car. A second came down in a storm. Now, this is the sole survivor, and I know the story of each of its missing limbs — as if I am telling the tales of the scars on my own body.
Before I get into the heart of this post, let me get into, well, the heart of this post. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Man blog is turning one today, and I want to thank all of you for helping to make this year inspirational and educational, as well as for joining me on a journey that I never imagined could happen by simply clicking “publish.”
Perhaps the best illustration I can offer is the picture below, and it’s an image that completely astounds me. WordPress recently added this feature to the stats page – a visual depiction of where the readers of this blog live and garden.
This occasion has also brought to mind all of the lessons and tidbits of knowledge that I have picked up over the years. In fact, it’s safe to say that gardeners dispense advice as if it is seeds – casting them about and hoping that one or hundreds will take hold and root and grow.
My earliest advice probably came from my mother. I have very clear memories of being a child and pulling weeds from the yard and then replanting them in the beds of my toy dump trucks – a gardenscape if ever there could be one. Mom’s advice probably went something like this: “Kevin, stop planting weeds in your dump truck.”