Treasures are where you find them.
My wife and I had gone, innocently enough, to a home decorating and re-modeling show. You know—where there’s lots of different vendors set up with displays of the latest in kitchen cabinetry, granite countertops, thermal replacement windows, new-fangled garage door screens that you put across your open garage door to keep out the mosquitoes. The kind of stuff that will pep up your home and make your life more livable.
I liked the fact that they had a lot of newer “green” products that were more environmentally sane and less polluting of the earth and less wasteful of resources.
And, wouldn’t you know it—in keeping with their “green” theme, they were actually giving away tree seedlings, free of charge, to take home and plant into your very own landscape?! Free trees!
I got a couple of persimmon trees, each maybe about 18 inches tall, with the roots wrapped in wet newspaper to keep them fresh for the journey home and until they could be properly set into some soil. Not very big trees, I’ll grant you, but—hey, they were persimmons—absolutely exotic, in my book. And, did I mention they were free?
My two new friends spent the night in the coolness of the garage and, the next day, I planted them into a fairly large pot that was filled with good potting soil. Since the trees were still quite small, my plan was to keep them in their container on the back deck for the first year while they gained a little size. I had done this before with a young magnolia tree and a Japanese maple tree, both of which had started out as small container plants and had grown big enough to be planted into the grounds of our home, where they were now thriving “adolescent” saplings.
It’s fun to start little trees in a container and observe them as they begin their journey to the sky.
It was pretty early in the year when we got the little guys, so all was still dormant. But I made sure they had enough water as the days and weeks passed.
As time went on, other plants and trees broke dormancy and began to leaf out, but the persimmons showed no signs of budding. Still, it was their first year after a transplant, so I figured they might just be a little slow in getting started.
Weeks passed. Then, maybe a couple of months. Once, I even lightly scraped the bark to see if there was tender green life just beneath the surface—there was. I made sure the soil in the container didn’t completely dry out, but I must admit I wasn’t paying much attention to the two brown twigs in the pot that seemed to be permanently stuck on “pause.”
Then one day after I had pretty much forgotten all about the little sleeping sticks, my wife announced that there were leaves showing up where no leaves had been before.
I couldn’t believe it!
I couldn’t believe that I had given up on them; I couldn’t believe that they had finally started to grow; and I couldn’t believe that she (not I) had discovered the first green buds on our little green buddies!
After this, I watered religiously and observed the addition of new leaves and the continuing growth of the little trees throughout the summer and into fall.
Winters are generally pretty mild in our part of the country, so I left the container of persimmon trees on the deck throughout the winter, with big plans to observe them into the coming spring and summer.
Time passes. Thoughts stray.
One day, after the warming of spring, my wife announced that rather than setting annuals into the pots on the deck like we usually do, she had gone ahead and cleaned debris out of the containers, stirred up the soil, and planted flower seeds directly into the pots.
I shuddered as I looked into the big container that had held my little persimmon pals. Two chewed off nubs, each about a half inch long, barely protruded out of the soil.
You know that feeling you get when you see something and you understand it very clearly but you still somehow just don’t believe it? Well……no words exist.
“You cut off the persimmon trees.” I wasn’t really angry, just numb. “Didn’t you remember they were there—you were the one who found them when they started growing last spring and now…..”
“I’m sorry……” and I suppose she was….
Time passes. Thoughts stray.
A few weeks after the tragedy, I walked out onto the deck to observe the greenery erupting from the newly planted flowerpots.
Guess what had exploded outward and upward from the persimmon nubs? You guessed it—the little persimmon trees had gone wild with new shoots and leaves!
Do plants have feelings or senses? I don’t know. But it seemed to me those persimmon trees were determined to rise head and shoulders above those intrusive little prissy-pants flowers that had jumped into their pot. I won’t be surprised if the trees overshadow them and outgrow everything on the deck.
Lesson learned—never underestimate the power of trees, even little ones. And never turn your back on a persimmon tree—they’re smarter and more persistent than you might think!