With the sun finally here, the days are longer, the plants grow bigger and the weeds grow faster. I’ve been taking some time off to be with our daughters who have moved beyond the skirts of home. We just got back from Idaho, amazed by the openness, the light, and the abundant fields of onions, corn and wheat.
Whenever we visit family we take on projects with them. Last year in Idaho at Emma’s, it was landscaping the front flower bed along the house which was a thistle patch. Ten hours and four blisters later, we had added roses, “Diablo” ninebark, hydrangeas and a deutzia. No rhododendrons please. This year I went to Emma’s with purpose: we needed to add trees to shade the house. The 105 degree weather cried for shade. So off we went to an Idaho nursery in search of the perfect shade tree. We decided that a catalpa tree would be too messy with its dropped pods. Aspens would sucker through the yard while crabapples would drop their bounty in the fall, creating a slippery mess. We were a nursery worker’s worse nightmare, in search of the “perfect” shade tree.
The power of Google on a smart phone helped us answer the right questions: How tall and wide would the tree get? How well will they grow in a lawn? Could they really thrive in the inhospitable place such as Idaho farm land? We settled on a purple ash and a sunburst locust for the front and back yards, while a California Red tree graced the side yard. We bought our bags of composted steer and soil blend. Then for the hole digging. Ah yes, this is REAL dirt I exclaimed as my shovel sunk deeper into the ground. The tree will be happy with those worms that we found three feet down in the ground. Stake the tree? Why…the ground is so heavy how could they blow over.
Last night my daughter texted me and said that the leaves were turning purple on the ash. I told her it was stressed and she should go talk to it. Better yet, I suggested she sing a country western song to it to make it feel better. I think the tree will do just fine; Idaho dirt, lots of water, sunshine, and a little George Strait “Twang” to keep it growing tall.
Enjoy your summer. Make some family memories together!