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The "Forest Pansy Redbud"
Miracle Saga





My daughter found a gorgeous tree - at deep-discount-on-sale late in the fall of 2013.  A finicky tree if out of its zone 6, ( we are zone 5a)  so, pushing the zone but in our favour, our garden is lower than the street and surrounded by a tall Cedar hedge.... micro-climate?

Of course we couldn't turn down a challenge like that.

Some botanical stuff....

Name: "Cercis canadensis", (pronounced, SER-sis kan-uh-DEN-sis)

Common name: Eastern Redbud.(ours is the "Forest Pansy" - which has dark red leaves)

Family: Fabaceae

Zone: USDA says 6 to 9

Height: 20 to 30 feet and Spread: 25 to 35 feet

Bloom Time: Spring with showy, rosy pink blooms all over branches

Sun: Full sun to part shade with medium water requirements, low  maintenance (I LOVE that !), attracts hummingbirds (love that too)

...and best of all?

...tolerant to the Black Walnut.

Yes, that 80 foot Black Walnut behind our garden in our neighbour's yard.

CHOOSING A TREE  is more than just a personal thing, so do your research !

The photos below show what this lovely tree should look like.... 

Photo credit: pixgood.com

We planted our bare sapling in late October. No leaves and when we removed it from the pot, all the soil fell off.

Makes it easier to see the roots.  On this one, there weren't too many small roots and the ones we saw seem undamaged. We planted it and added sea compost around the base and watered it well until the ground froze.

More here on - PLANTING TREES

We extended the existing bed so the new tree's overhanging branches wouldn't be damaged by our non-gardener-lawn-cutter. 

By early May, no sign of life. I kept watering.

My neighbour's Redbud tree is blooming,  my rose tree has leafed out, the Hosta and the roses are looking good and it is June 10 - and  yet...there are only 5 tiny leaf-lets !

I was excited but really, there should have been flowers ! 

Yikes, no leaves mean no photosynthesis for any kind of strength.

By the 13th of June, I was getting desperate enough that I was willing to try anything.....more water, music, prayer - anything...

I needed a sign.

That day, in the lawn, I found a four-leafed clover.

I sealed it in plastic and hung it  from one of the branches.  If you look hard, you can barely see it between the lady and the blue pot on a top branch...

A week later, on June 20, we were on our local Master Gardener garden tour and I wanted the garden to look its best.

I trimmed off the furthest ends of each branch where there was no sign of a bud (even though most say not to prune a tree its first year).  However, vanity did make me wait until the tour was over.

And by July 2, look at the difference below! Real leaves !!

I knew I should be PRUNING off this lower branch (on the right), but the leaves were so lovely I needed a few days to really enjoy them. I waited until July 22 and pruned even more. The severe pruning changed the shape from a wide-open and graceful structure to a compact one but I was still able to keep the shape.

NOTE:  I have since learned that experts say not to prune a tree its first year, except for crossing, diseased or dead branches. It is  too stressful. And perhaps, coupled with pushing the zone... I may have slowed its growth.

August 3 - just a week later and look at the growth - it's almost double.

Look at that glorious colour! and those heart-shaped leaves...I was thrilled and of course, believe in miracles.

It is protected from the west wind and  it gets morning sun till midday and over head until 2 or 2:30 pm. With  good soil, compost and water and a large chunk of faith, it will keep thriving.

Here it is in late September that first  year.... its leaves intact.

Surrounded with wire filled with leaves.

Spring has arrived once again.... and 

here it is June, its second summer (2015), and there are only a couple of leaves at the bottom... yikes!

Further research shows it is actually a zone 6 (USDA zone 7)....

I am learning that pushing the zone may be okay for some smaller plants, but trees and shrubs are not happy out of their zone... 

STAY TUNED ... it is not looking good...the only leaves, are those at the bottom of the trunk - (the dark red, heart-shaped leaves)... and there are only a few... the rest of the tree shows no sign of life...sigh.

All trees need leaves in order to complete the cycle of photosynthesis to take in the nutrients  needed for health and longevity. There are not enough leaves on this tree to do that as there are no leaves  higher up the trunk.

Now what? 

Two days before our garden was on yet another garden tour, I sawed off the trunk above the small branches there were at the bottom.  Here is the "tree" 2 weeks later.

Sometimes dire circumstances call for drastic measures. The upper part of the tree had no sign of life.  The choices were to dig it out, or cut it off.

This initiated some very quick growth !

Time will tell if there is enough growth to keep it alive this winter.

A good lesson to not push the zone !

6 years later, that little side shoot I thought I should  have trimmed off, now looks like this.


Perhaps it is time to find another, like the RUBY FALLS REDBUD... See that story here.





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