We planted a tree this week. A ginkgo.
“They’re slow growers,” the nurseryman said. “We know,” I responded. “We planted one before. We like them.”
Even though we chose the biggest ginkgo in the field, it’s still a stick, a pool cue, a twig that will take a good 10 years to provide appreciable shade.
In the meantime, we keep a watchful eye on the sugar maple this ginkgo is intended to replace. It’s been sprouting fewer leaves every spring for the past five years. The tree service says it’s dying, but they can’t say for sure how long it will last.
We’re reluctant to see that maple go because we love and appreciate the shade it spreads across our deck during family reunions, the gold finches that flock to feeders hanging from its branches, and the cool breezes it ensures waft through our porch screens. In the fall, its red-gold leaves are among the most brilliant in our yard.
We’re reluctant to see it go because, even in its denuded state, it casts a greater shadow than our stick of a gingko.
Because of its slow-growing nature, we know it could be 20 years before the ginkgo provides real shade for our porch. We’ll have reached a ripe old age ourselves by that time.
But planting trees has always been for the future – for our grandchildren, for the future owners of this land. So Happy Arbor Day to the future!