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Tree Mendous!!!!

The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. If you missed that, the next best time is today. We had amazing trees at Blooming Acres. The bark on the corkscrew willow

Corkscrew Willow

was so weird and the paperbark maple was a work of art.

Paperbark Maple bark

Starting over at Tiny Farm gave me a new blank canvas to fill in. A bit bittersweet but also exciting. Certainly we can't do as much on one acre as you can on ten, so we have to be very selective. The Purple Weeping European Beech was one of the first to be planted and it is doing quite well. But this week I added one of its relatives and I could not be more excited. It is a Tri-color Beech and I came upon it unexpectedly. Jordan and I were shopping for a Jane Magnolia as a Mother's Day present for her mom, but she wanted to get it now so it could be planted at the best time. While we were out, I was trying to find a Weeping Siberian Pea shrub so we stopped at a new place, Colts Neck Nursery

Weeping Siberian Pea Shrub

just to see what they had. No Peashrub. Bummer. I think I had the only one I have ever seen but it did not survive the fire. Been searching for another ever since. Talking with the owner, Frank Vaughan, he told me he did have something unusual and took me to the Tri-color Beech. These smaller trees are show stopping. There just aren't a lot of hot pink trees around!! So I heated up the credit card and loaded the beauty into the bumblebee pickup and headed home.

Jordan and I planted it the next day. It was not a small job as it is about 10 feet tall. We dug a hole about twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball. Pulled out yet another bucket of rocks, and mixed in about 50% compost into the sandy soil. We removed the wire basket. I hate those things. Supposedly the roots grow through the gaps but why take a chance? Never fertilize until a tree has been in the ground at least one full growing season. Then we mulched and watered it in. The buds are swelling but no leaves yet. I can hardly wait!! Juniper and her best friend Beatrix seem to approve of our efforts.

Beatrix Left. Juniper right.

Tri-color Beech foliage. Which I think explains why I couldn't resist!

I don't want you to think we forgot about Jane Magnolia during all this. We got a really lovely specimen and planted it the next day at Jordan's Mom's house. We have a Susan Magnolia at Tiny Farm and we had a gorgeous Betty at Blooming Acres. These are three of the 8 varieties from the Little Girl series of Magnolias. They were

introduced in the 1950's via the National Arboretum. The names were after the daughters of the primary researchers that developed the line. In general they are smaller trees, the smallest being Judy and Jordan's Jane the largest.

Jane freshly planted
Jane Magnolia flower
Susan Magnolia

But their claim to fame is that they bloom later than the classic saucer magnolia that announces spring with a bang - except those years when a late frost turns all the flowers slimy brown. A very sad sight indeed. These girls are just late enough to miss that. They are not all readily available. I tried to find a Judy for my sister, Judy, but couldn't find one anywhere. Ann, Betty, Susan and Jane are the most common. Randy,

Judy, Pinkie and Ricki seem to be hiding. But they are all lovely.

Susan Magnolia flower
A mature Betty from Blooming Acres
Betty's blossom


There are a lot of other things strutting their stuff in the garden right now. Here are a few of them:

Pink Daffodils

Hellebores Gone Crazy
Coral colored Camellia
Red Camellia


While doing all this planting we spend a lot of time getting to the good compost which tends to be at the bottom of the pile. We have cleared enough so we can start adding fresh material back at the beginning.

But we came across something interesting as we fussed with the black gold. These are old lemon squashes. (Is the plural of squash squish??) There were so many and the foliage was so thick we never got to them all so some ended up in the compost pile.

Old lemon squash

These are hard as rocks. They didn't really break down at all. More like gourds than squash but they were so tender when we ate them. We felt compelled to investigate.

After whacking at it repeatedly with a shovel it finally cracked open. It is very like a luffa inside. Luffa are a kind of squash but we were not expecting these little guys to have turned into this. Plants are just amazing. The seeds are inside. The chickens loved them.

Speaking of the chickens, the girls are back to work in time for Easter. No need to dye these!!

Just a reminder that if you missed any of our broadcasts, but would like to hear them, they are now available on the website archives. The show can be heard on 95.1 FM every Sunday from 10 AM to Noon. You can also stream on But even more amazing is that you can tune in via your telephone. This connection is not internet streaming (of course you can do that) but just a phone call from any telephone, landline or mobile. Dial 518-737-0158 and join us.

If you have questions, you can send them here to the website or save them to call into the show. That number is 908-448-zero-95-1 (908-448-0951). It is a tricky way of getting the place on the dial imbedded into the phone number. Talk soon.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

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1 Comment

kathyD of Milltown
kathyD of Milltown
Apr 08, 2023

That's an awesome compost pile!!

Kathy D

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