Monday, October 1, 2012


Submitted for our Harvest theme

Dug Up: Part 2
By: Gillian Zylka

They had to be planted. Neither one of us had ever planted a tree before. A kindly man at the garden centre provided us with all of the information we needed on how to plant them. He also suggested we buy Lois Hole’s gardening books. I found her book on shrubs and trees and perennials at fairs fair for ten bucks each. I read up for further detailed knowledge. We bought the shrub and tree root promoter recommended by our neighbour Marie, as she walked by with her King Charles Spaniel when we brought the trees home. I got out my little shovel from Lee Valley tools, and my husband got out his big shovel.
The next day, a hot July Saturday, we started to dig. We had carefully selected the spot where the weeping birch was to go, it had to be the perfect spot because we think we may someday put in a garage. My husband carefully measured all of the dimensions. We cut out the sod first in a perfect circle. It had to be measured with a long piece of string attached to a screwdriver in the middle. We took turns jumping on the edger pushing through the thick sod in pie shaped pieces, laying each piece aside. We dug and dug putting the earth onto a tarp carefully laid out.  The hole had to be three times as big as the tree ball. We added bone meal and the root promoter. I brought out jugs of iced water that we thirstily drank every fifteen to twenty minutes. We sweat through the heat and swore at each other that we had decided to take this on in the middle of the day. We thought we knew what we were doing. The tree had to be slightly elevated as we were told that when we added the earth we had bought at the garden centre, it would gradually sink. The tree had to go in at the precise right level. It went in and came out five or six times, each time we added more earth.
At one point I yelled in frustration, “would you put the fricking tree in and be done with it???”
It took us four and a half hours. But it was done. We watered it a lot and fertilized it. Every time I drive up to the house I look at the spindly little tree with it’s tiny little branches and small leave that are changing colour already. I wonder if it will survive the winter. The tree across the street mocks me a little, I question if I will even live to see my tree thrive to that extent, if it thrives at all.
The Amur Cherry went in the following Saturday, in the backyard in a circle where the deck had been burned. We were old pros by then, it only took an hour and a half. It looks happy in its spot.
 We found a healthy Dropmore Linden tree at the Superstore that was on sale for nine dollars. It had beautiful yellow blossoms that are good for making a tisane. We found another spot in our burgeoning backyard to plant it.
My garden is now fading into autumn, the flowers and herbs I so carefully planted the year before are in their final bloom for this year. The trees in the backyard stand stalwart though, protected by other mature trees. The weeping birch in the front yard will hopefully live.
Sundays are now days for visiting. The boys, all adults, come home, one of them bringing his laundry in tow.
As he says, “It costs four bucks at my condo…”
This summer we enjoyed the back yard together, having dinner and laughs with the neighbour’s dogs barking at our conversation. It felt good to visit and to create this year. Again.
I no longer miss the boys, we have adapted to being empty nesters. They come around to visit, and we travel to see our other son. He in kind comes home every Christmas.
 I now realize, everything has it’s season.

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