Speaking for the Trees

We already have two dogwoods in the front yard, one pink and one white. Here they are in all of their finery last April. The new one is for the backyard.

I am totally not a gardener. But I did some gardening today, mostly under the direction of my gardening husband. (We call him “Farmer Bob”). Alexandria’s goal is to achieve a 40% tree canopy cover by 2035. To that end, the city holds a Fall Native Plant Sale each year, with reasonable prices on various kinds of trees.

A few weeks ago, I ordered a white flowering dogwood through the program. Dogwoods do well in partial shade, so it seemed like a good fit for our partly wooded backyard. Today, we picked up our tree (luckily, it was small enough to get home in our Prius). Then we stopped at Home Depot for some topsoil and a local garden center for the recommended type of mulch. We also bought yellow and blue-violet pansies for two big flower pots in the backyard.

Then we got home and planted it all. I know nothing about gardening, which seems to annoy Farmer Bob. He grew up doing this stuff and does not fathom just how clueless I am about digging in the dirt. He walked me through planting pansies in one of our big blue flower pots and then let me do the other one myself. We even discovered a small but perfectly good potato in one of them, a remnant of a failed experiment at planting potatoes a few months ago, an experiment that until now had yield exactly one tiny potato for us, and probably a whole lot more that the squirrels and other critters dug up and ate.

Pansies potted, we then chose a spot on the edge of the wooded part of the yard, and Bob dug a big hole for the dogwood. I helped by holding the tree in place while he shoveled dirt around it. Then he mulched, and I planted some of the leftover pansies around it.

Now we’ll wait to see if everything grows and thrives, of if my brown thumb — and the coming cold weather — dooms it all.

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