Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Curmudgeon Collects Redbuds

Some people cannot bear to throw anything away. I am not one of those people. Every year, and sometimes two or more times in a year, I have a "throwing out" in which stuff gets taken to Goodwill, posted on Freecycle, or put in the trash. I do this with no remorse. If I do not have an immediate need for something, I do not want it cluttering up my house.

But then there is the matter of redbud seedlings. It began with one, which sprouted in my butterfly garden in 2006. It was my first spring in my new garden, which at the time was essentially a football field with a couple of lantanas growing at the 20 yard-line. I admired Nature's pluck, the way she had no doubt been throwing seedlings on this piece of land every year for over a century, only to have them dug up by a farmer's plow or later beheaded by a lawnmower, so I decided that this tree would be the first successful re-colonizer of my backyard.

Knowing that it will eventually throw more shade than I want in the butterfly garden, I moved it across the field and down to about the five yard line, where I let things grow kind of wild, and there it is growing nicely.

This year, another redbud sprouted in one of my new beds, in the exact spot where I had been contemplating putting a small tree. I took this as a sign that a tree was indeed meant to go there, and am now tending to it as well. (Not that they need much tending--mainly it amounts to shouting "Don't step on my tree!" every time Teresa ventures in that part of the garden. She responds with some remark about curmudgeons, which pleases me greatly. Not all wives are so supportive of their husband's career aspirations.

Anyway, back to redbuds. They are coming up everywhere now. Two in Teresa's birdbath garden, which she says must be moved this fall as she is not growing a forest there; two or three more in the butterfly garden, and still more along the fence. Every time I weed, I see another two or three little redbuds, and I know I don't have room for all of them, but somehow I always seem to miss them as I pull the grass, pokeweed, and other stuff from around them. I fear that this may get out of hand.

At least my yard...er...forest...will be pretty in spring!

8 comments:

Meg said...

David, you won't need to be a curmudgeon for long. My two redbuds were also volunteers, and after two years, they really took off. BTW If you are ever in Durham, let me know. We could use a throw-away consultation at our house. At work too, for that matter.

Les, Zone 8a said...

If you ever get tired of the seedlings, there is a new seedless variety called 'Don Egolf'. Have you seen the gold leaf redbud "Hearts of Gold"? If my 'Forest Pansy' decides to check out, I will be planting one of those.

Iris said...

Me too! I throw stuff out with abandon in the house, but show me a volunteer cherry or oak in our mostly treeless yard and I'm also shouting, "Don't step on my tree!" Same with pokeweed, I obsessed with it, especially now that the birds are finding a few ripe berries on them. And last year I made Josh mow around all the volunteer tickseed that was blooming in the yard. This year, he was happy to hand over the mowing reins to me. I have a big swath of unmowed "meadow" where the tickseed grows with abandon.

Wrenna said...

I love throwing things away, or getting rid of them in a more productive way. I'm exactly like that: If I don't need it right now it has no place in my house.

Hahaha, you a curmudgeon. Well, they are rumored to have hearts of gold.

Chad & Brandy said...

We have one redbud tree in our yard and we find sprouts on the opposite side of the yard. The maples doo the same thing. If we had more room, I would let them all grow.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

We have a similar redbud issue going on here in our garden. I have placed as many of these sprouts as I can and so have our friends and family. The bad thing is that my DB hates to just pull them out like they are weeds. Which in description they are, unwanted where they pop up. So I sneak around and dig them out. He forgets that they even existed so it isn't really a problem.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Thank god I'mnot the only one who yells at my wife to not step on something, and then have her yell back about being (something like) a curmudgeon. I even put thos elittle flags out that utility companies use to mark underground lines, and do you think it works? Do you?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just assumed most gardeners are thrilled to find desirable volunteers like you redbuds. I do similar transplanting with the only limitation being am I going to be able to water these until they are established. Once they are, I think for native plants that Mom Nature should assume more responsibility for day to day needs.

On the other hand, I like many of you have undesirable volunteers some that are big nuisances to areas of native growth. Those I nip before they bud and are spread by avian vectors. i have written about some bright red berry types on my blog. Matt, Zen of Watering...