Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Case of the Missing Trees

Yesterday was tree planting day. I pre-ordered plants from the Yamhill County native plant sale and picked them up day before yesterday. But somehow, somewhere, I lost two of them.

The ten Pacific Rhododendrons, tiny little plants in pots, I planted in the Redwood section of my arboretum and marked with lime green marking ribbon tied on dead bamboo stakes. The bamboo is from our patch of Golden Bamboo behind the house. Thanks to being neglected for years, everything in the center of the clump has pretty much died. So I cut out the dead stuff and am recycling it into tree and garden stakes. Bamboo is, I'm sure, the most useful plant on earth. It is lovely to look at, good to eat as new shoots, and you can build anything out of it... houses, floors, whatever. And... you can use the dead stuff as garden stakes. But I digress...

Five of the ten tiny little Western Yew trees I planted in the Ponderosa Pine section. The other five I planted in the Sitka Spruce (Temperate Rain Forest) area. Those are all duly staked and accounted for. The yews and the rhodies came in little pots. I have twenty empty pots.

The twenty Western Red Cedar came bare rooted. They were in a big pot with wet sawdust around their roots. I took them out one by one and planted either eight or ten, I don't remember which, in the Redwood section. Then I planted ten or maybe twelve? in the Sitka Spruce zone. At first, I did not mark the cedars because they were pretty tall. But, after planting all of them, I decided I should flag them, because by summer, the weeds would be taller. So I trudged back and hung a ribbon on each tree that I could find. I found eighteen: eight in the Redwoods and ten in the Spruces. Uh oh. What happened to the other two?

Maybe I dropped them somewhere... or planted them and didn't find them to mark... or maybe I was only given eighteen trees? Today I took bamboo stakes and retraced my planting steps, marking each cedar tree that I found with ribbon tied on a bamboo pole nearby. I found eighteen of them. I did not find any lying about on the ground unplanted. Where oh where are the missing trees?

I suspect that I was only given eighteen. But then, I'm the sort of person who is sure we've been burglarized when I lose my check book. I always find it eventually, right where I left it. Maybe, like my checkbook, the trees will reappear someday, growing up and over the weeds I may have planted them in. But I really think I was shorted two trees.

Not that I needed twenty Western Red Cedar trees. And, at sixty cents each, it's not a huge loss. But it's puzzling. Next time, (and there will be a next time soon because I also pre-ordered trees from the Polk County native plant sale), I'll count the trees before I plant them.

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