Friday, 25 April 2014

Earth Day Tree Planting

My kids are absolutely fascinated by all things growing and green. They love helping in the garden, planting and watering and pruning and weeding and watching things grow. They spend a good chunk of their allowances during the growing season on flowers for the garden and seeds and pots to grow their own little vegetables and herbs. Our daily checks of the vegetable garden are one of the highlights of their summer days.

In addition to the herbs and vegetables and flowers we plant every spring, each of my boys has his own little tree that he's been carefully nurturing. When we first moved to Pleasantville from the city a few years ago the kids each received a teeny-tiny little sapling at a Movies in the Park night sponsored by the Town. It was such a perfect symbol of our new life in our new home and our new town. We planted the saplings in great big roomy pots with lots of good earth and the kids have taken care of them ever since, watering them every time we water the gardens, weeding any stray weeds that dare grow in those pots, transferring any worms they find in the garden into the earth around their precious trees. One day we will have to plant those trees permanently in the yard, but for the time being they're thriving in their enormous pots and the kids are thrilled with them.

In Pleasantville, Movies in the Park is an annual event. As is the free tree for each kid. We've been here a few years now. We have a lot of little trees, and a pretty small suburban backyard. There's simply no way we can keep all of these little trees here. But the kids are very attached to their little trees, so until now we have - the one special tree for each boy is in its special pot, but a half-dozen others have accumulated over the years and are collected in their little plastic cups and pots in various corners of the yard waiting for a forever home.

So for Earth Day this year I had a stroke of brilliance - we'd plant them in the park behind our house. Close enough to home that the kids can still take care of them and watch them grow. Outside the confines of our fairly limited yard space, allowing me to keep my dream of a one-day pool back there alive. And just behind our fence so that we can keep them relatively safe from being stepped on or mowed over while they're still small and benefit from the privacy and prettiness of mature evergreens when they're grown.

Earth Day Tree Sapling, kids activities
The kids carefully positioned and repositioned their little trees just outside our fence (it's possible Mom's organizational obsessiveness has rubbed off just a bit...) and when everyone was satisfied we marked out the locations and got down to business. We dug out their tiny little holes and backfilled them with good gardening soil. We carefully pulled the tiny trees out of their little pots, loosened up the tangled roots and gingerly placed them in the holes.We backfilled with more of the good soil and tamped it down with the earth we'd removed. We created little shelters for them from bamboo gardening stakes and twine and watered them - and now we wait.


Earth Day Tree Saplings, kids activities
I have no idea if these little baby trees will survive life in a fairly high-traffic public park - the kids running around, the town landscaping crews coming by with their massive machinery all summer long - but our fingers are crossed!

Happy Earth Day. Plant a tree!

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