Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Free Tree

A few years ago, I came home from work to find a new maple in front of our house in the strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk As part of the environmental tradeoffs with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, several hundred trees had to be planted around the D.C. area in the Potomac Watershed; our town took a few hundred or so and planted them throughout the city, including in front of my house.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago: I saw a notice on the city listserv that the city had several trees free for the asking on a first-come, first-served basis. On the first day you could reserve a tree, Evelin called and today Celeste and I drove over to the public works yard and picked out a fairly rough looking crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) that is supposed to flower purple. (It's no flower fairy, but it is a free crape myrtle.)

Back around Labor Day Weekend, I'd cut down and pulled out the roots of a tall, thin evergreen that was listing significantly. For a while I'd thought it was my imagination, but looking back at pictures, it really was leaning a lot. It turns out the roots were all twisted instead of spreading out; maybe whoever planted it didn't remove the burlap or anything from the root ball.

That space, at the front corner of the house has some big azaleas in it (as well as our strawberry patch, but it needed a taller vertical element to replace the lost evergreen — enter the crape myrtle. Hopefully being in the ground and getting a lot of water will help the tree settle in and, in a year or few, we'll have some nice blooms.

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