February 1, 2010

Show Me What You Planted

 I have planted a ton of trees and shrubs and perennials in my half acre lot, and I'm sort of happy with how nice it's all looking.  As anyone reading this knows, it's hard work, but a constant and abiding pleasure.  And I've done it all myself.  When a while back I asked my husband if he'd like a tour of each garden and an explanation of everything I put in, he said "no."

Not "thanks, maybe later" or "gee, I don't think so, I'd just trample stuff", not even "oh, I wouldn't be able to appreciate it properly".  Just "no."

I understand.  My teeth would itch if he asked me to read the box scores in the newspaper with him.  Just not interested, honey.

So when I had to call Bartlett Tree Experts to come look at treating an ailing paper birch, I was pleased when the young sales guy / arborist looked over the property and said "tell me what you have here.  What have you planted?"

We spent an hour and a half of his company's time looking at the trees and shrubs I'm tending.  He marvelled at the zone 6 Sourwood growing by my zone 5 patio, he showed me things I didn't know about growth and gave me a pruning lesson.  He told me what he dreams of planting in his own yard, I told him what my next 5 or 6 tree purchases were going to be.  He got his Dirr's out of the truck, I got mine from the den.

He's been back several times over the past two years, as part of the maintenance program I signed up for, and we always tour my little yard talking about the plants. Heike comes when he doesn't... she fertilizes and inspects for grubbies and deformities, and we always tour the yard together too, pondering whether the linden will survive, and whether it was a rogue frost that did in the tips of the tupelo's leaves.  She knows my yard well: "you moved that sweetbay magnolia? Again?"

When Bartlett first showed up, I expected a sales pitch for expensive programs, chemical applications and frequent horticultural interventions, all with a big price tag.  I steeled myself to resist.  Bartlett is a big corparate entity, with a good reputation, and they are very expensive, no question.

But he had me at "show me what you've planted."


  1. what a nice post, it just shows you sometimes you just have to give people a little chance and thats how friends and relationships grow...sigh that was a Hallmark moment :)

  2. I'm with Noel--this is a lovely post, and shows what cool relationships can start with a simple statement like that. And I giggled about the moving of the magnolia. Things get moved around here from time to time, too. When they aren't going to sleep, never to wake up again, that is. Then they make the final move...to the compost heap.

  3. Thanks Noel and Jodi. I've already told my husband when he's gone I am marrying the Bartlett tree service guy, even though he's probably my son's age.

  4. My Dearly Beloved was just like your husband when he worked full time. Now that he is retired he has taken a great interest in the garden. This is great but it does have some drawbacks. Such as his opinions about what I plant where. It didn't used to be an issue. Then when I should be out there pulling weeds etc... Must be careful about what you ask for. You might get it. tee hee

  5. Lisa, So true. I actually know I've got a good thing going with my husband's benign neglect. It means I can do anything I want in my own private garden world!


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