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The "Forest Pansy Redbud"
Miracle Saga

My daughter found a gorgeous tree - at deep-discount-on-sale late last fall (2013).  A finicky tree if out of its zone 6, (and we are zone 5a so, it's just on the edge here) ...but glorious.

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

But first, a bit of 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 not 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; the 30th, actually - it had not a leaf or sign of a leaf and when we removed it from the pot, the earth fell off.

Some say this is not a good thing but then again, bare root trees come with no earth. There were not too many small roots and the ones there did not seem damaged; but who knows really. We added good rich sea compost and lots of water.

(There are differing opinions about how a tree should be planted so check this out for some of them - PLANTING TREES

We extended the existing bed as the tree had some lovely -shaped overhanging branches that would have been damaged by our non-gardener-lawn-cutter. A bigger bed, of course, means more plants !

By early May, no sign of life. I sprinkled some SRC around the base and kept watering.

(SRC - Spanish River Carbonatite, or Volcanic Minerals - for more information see www.borealagrominerals.com)

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 am so excited but really, there should have been flowers ! 

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

By the 13th of June, I was getting desperate enough that I was willing to try anything.....more water, music, prayer, chatter, and the rest of the sample bag of SRC I received in a goody bag at at conference. 

I decided I needed a sign, or this tree was as good as gone. I demanded a sign from the Universe, out loud and quick. 

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

...Yes, I really did.

I encased it in plastic and hung it by a ribbon 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, I added two more handfuls of SRC and watered as usual. We were on our local Master Gardener Anniversary garden tour on June 23 and 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 made 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. So 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... did I slow 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 (still) and maybe the SRC?

I do think this means it will live. I have researched it again and found another site that says it is hardy zones 6 to 9 but this little garden has its own microclimate in that is is down below street level, behind the house and surrounded by a tall cedar hedge as you can see below.

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 should thrive.

Here it is in late September.... its leaves intact and a few more for show.

Time to think about getting it ready for winter... and helping it to survive as best we can.

Looking down past the rose garden where the rose tree is buried near the bottom of this photo, the Redbud has a necklace of deer fence filled with dry sugar maple leaves.

How sad it looks, but perhaps now all its energy can go to its roots in preparation for spring. 

Of course I have faith it will live and be glorious. Part of me knows that it takes more than good soil, and care to make a tree grow.  If it has not been cared for at the nursery, planted correctly or dug correctly, then no matter what I do, it really will take a miracle.

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.

I guess 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 !






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