Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ON FUN ~ Jack's Tree...


This is Jack's Tree. Jack is the son of our good friends from Maine. We spend a weekend each summer with them at their lake house. And they come down to visit us here and there when there is a gathering going on. On one such trip down, for a football playoff party we were having, they came bearing a gift. Because they had spent Christmas in 2007 visiting family in Chicago, they did not get a Christmas tree for their home. Not wanting to disappoint young Jack, they bought a small potted tree for him to decorate leading up to their holiday trip. And because they did not have a nice spot to plant it in their own yard, they brought it down to us.

Jack's Tree did not come with any instructions per se, so we just left it sitting very festively by our front porch dotted with snow through the winter. No one told us that it should have been moved inside and cared for there. The soil in the pot froze, just like the ground we planned to eventually plant it in. This was not proper treatment for a little pine and the poor thing was in trouble when the Spring thaw finally came around a few months later.

A little research told us that Jack's Tree was an Australian Pine, which is nearly impossible to kill and very hearty in our region. Provided it did not die from our neglect before it had half a chance, it would grow to be quite large and attractive. We picked out a spot near the back of our yard where it would have room to grow and recover and crossed our fingers.



Jack's Tree spent the next few months turning brown. We felt almost foolish watering it - it looked so far gone. But we are stubborn Bumbles and so we kept apologizing to Jack's Tree and giving it water while brushing dead needles away. We got up the courage to ask the landscaper we hired to build our patio whether he thought Jack's Tree had any shot. He pointed out new growth and said that it would probably pull through despite our mistreatment.

A year after our gift of Jack's Tree arrived, it had finally turned green again. But it was so thin that it looked just like Charlie Brown's Tree instead of something young Jack could be proud of. We hoped it had put down its roots well enough to make it through another winter and that this one would treat it more kindly.


Jack's Tree survived its second winter and didn't shed nearly as many needles as it had before. In fact, it actually started to fatten up. We would check on it each time we'd come back to tend the vegetable garden that kept the little guy company. And we stopped worrying about it heading in to this past winter - its third at our home.

This Spring, when I lamented over our barren and pitiful gardens, the one bright spot in our yard was Jack's Tree. He has grown bigger, greener and more lush. He is coming into his own in his spot in the world. Some day we will look back at photos of our yard and marvel at how small he was. Just like we do when we revisit older photos from our summer trips up to Maine. Where young Jack was so small and we marvel at how much he has grown.


Getting toys and clothes and books and baubles as presents is always exciting. But they don't carry as much meaning as a tree from a young boy to plant and grow, that will be here to please the eyes of someone else long after we are gone from this Earth. So thank you Jack. We think of you each time we visit your tree. And we are really happy your tree is as stubborn as we are. Because I'm not sure we could have fessed up to killing your gift.

12 comments:

Matty said...

I see that you have the same green thumb as me. It looks very good compared to that dismal picture of it. Now Mary would have known exactly what to do and how to care for it. She is always outside doing something with the gardens.

bookfanmary said...

I LOVE this post. What a great story. My parents have a similar tree in their backyard. My nephew came to visit with a little bit of a tree in a dixie cup (some business was giving them out as a promotion). He wanted to give it to the grandparents. They planted it together and now, maybe 25 years later, we all are amazed how large that tree is. The grandson is now married with children and lives far from the grandparents. I hope he can show his kids the grown tree and tell him the story about the beginning :)

Janet said...

what a sweet story :-) I have a plant my brother's girlfriend gave me when I moved into my condo last year...still alive...but just barely LOL!

boliyou said...

Hooray for Jack's Tree. The little tree that could. If only our little potted Christmas tree had fared so well.

Sun Singer said...

What a hardy tree. Glad it pulled through. We planted our in-the-pot Christmas tree in the yard the first year we lived in our last house. I was surprised it made it since Georgia isn't normally considered Spruce country. By the time we left, it was two stories high!

Malcolm

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

What a beautiful story in both words and pictures. I loved it.

stacybuckeye said...

Yea for Jack's tree! A tree that is hard to kill is a great gift :) We have Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in our backyard. I should take a picture.

Susan said...

LOL! I laughed through the whole thing...great post, Molly! That is some hardy and hearty tree! I hope Jack is very appreciative of the good care you've given his tree after nearly committing murder on it. :-)

caite said...

a wonderful story of perseverance!

kaye said...

Loved your story! I am glad the tree survived your "neglect" and is now flourishing. I'm sure I would have tossed it and gave up--I have a bit of a black thumb. I'm sure you'll enjoy the tree and it's names sake for many, many years.

jehara said...

Wow! The tree looks awesome now! I surely would have killed it. I can't even keep my bamboo alive.

Kim said...

I'm so happy for you that Jack's Tree survived and is now thriving. As a major-league plant killer, I can only dream of that kind of glory. This year I have killed a tomato plant, basil, and cilantro. Good for you!