Several years ago, I
rescued bought a tree that I found for sale in our local grocery store’s parking lot. It was the only tree of its kind, sitting among a few left over spring plants. It didn’t have a tag, so I didn’t even know what kind of tree it was, but its beautiful heart-shaped leaves caught my eye. The leaves reminded me of love, and I just had to have the tree.
Once home, I googled trees, and discovered I’d purchased an Eastern Redbud tree. Imagine my surprise, when I discovered it would also have pretty little purple blooms the following spring!
I decided to plant my little tree on the western side of our house. There, it received some shade from several pine trees, and I could easily see it from my kitchen window. My little “love tree” grew quickly and seemed to be happy in the spot I’d chosen. Not too many months later, we built our chickens’ coop close to the little tree, and the tree provided some morning shade for the hens.
Love tree #1 (now deceased)
Yes, my precious little “love tree” began to quickly shed its leaves, and eventually died. To say the hens and I were upset would be an understatement. We both missed our little “love tree”.
The following February, I began to search for another Eastern Redbud tree. I found one at Home Depot. The problem was it cost $39.99! I’d only paid a few dollars for my parking lot rescue. My sweet husband, Ed, offered to buy the tree for me as an early Valentine’s Day gift. I thought a “love tree” was an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift, so I graciously accepted his generous gesture.
Unfortunately, my little Valentine’s Day tree failed to thrive. It put on very few leaves, that spring, and most of the leaves it sprouted soon turned brown. I basically ended up with a stick in the ground, which I thought was dead by the end of the summer.
Imagine my surprise, the following spring, when we dug up the “stick”, to replace it with a new tree, and discovered the tree was still alive. We hastily replanted the “stick tree” at the very back of our yard, under the shade of some other trees, where it continues living today.
Love tree #2 (our little “stick tree”)
Later, the same spring Ed bought me the Valentine’s Day tree, I found another Eastern Redbud for sale in the same grocery store parking lot. I paid $10 for the puny little thing, and planted it on the Eastern side of our house.
At the time, I still hadn’t figured out Redbud trees don’t like a lot of sun. Needless to say, my puny little tree didn’t fare well.
Love tree #3 (notice the bite marks on its leaves)
Which brings me to “love tree” number four. I found another beautiful, healthy-looking Redbud tree at Lowe’s, this spring, and planted it close to the chickens’ coop (again) in an effort to provide some much-needed shade for them.
This poor tree has been struggling all year. It looks refreshed each morning, but by the end of our 90 plus degree days, the poor thing just looks beaten down. The free ranging hens keep the ground around the poor tree well fertilized and cultivated (I think they’re trying to help their tree along), but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.
Love tree #4 (really struggling in this heat)
The jury is “still out” on the three “love trees” growing in our back yard. Only time will tell if they can survive this summer heat and sun. Two of the three are looking pretty good. We may end up having to move the tree that’s planted closest to the chicken coop.
In the meantime, something has been spending a lot of time munching on some of the beautiful heart-shaped leaves of our trees! So far, we’ve been unable to catch the culprits, but we’ll keep dusting those lovely leaves, in hopes that our “love trees” will not only survive, but, eventually, thrive.