Pity is not a good reason to buy a plant. In fact, it’s a terrible reason. Gardening is hard enough already, and you owe it to yourself to work with hardy, healthy, well-grown specimens. I am no master gardener, and most of the success I have enjoyed derives from arming myself with sturdy plants of species that would probably grow if planted in asphalt.
Which, of course, is why I came home today with the World’s Most Tragic Redbud.
It had apparently come off the worse in a battle with a forklift, and I found it with almost all the dirt knocked off its roots, (the roots themselves a pitiably small tangle) slumped against a table of suspiciously glossy Burford holly.
I didn’t want a tree. I had come in for birdseed. Birdseed is not a tree.
Redbud is native. It’s a beautiful tree that flowers in spring. I love them dearly, and am sad that the only one in the immediate vicinity is off in the woods and hard to see. I had been thinking for awhile that it would be a nice thing to plant, but of course, I wanted a seriously tough specimen, well grown and vigorous, with roots that would dive into the soil like otters on steroids.
I looked at the dying redbud.
It looked sad.
Kevin had adopted more tragic homeless animals than one cares to contemplate, and we cannot see a stray dog or cat cross the road without slowing down and looking at each other and gritting our teeth. I brake for turtles, and I dread the day I find a living-but-injured turtle, and wind up spending huge sums at the vet to try and heal it. There was probably never any hope.
I tracked down the manager, who offered me a steep discount on the poor tree, and I lugged it home, muttering about suckers and P. T. Barnum, sank it as deep into the ground as it would go, and soaked it down. There’s not much root there. I don’t have all that much hope, and I certainly didn’t plan to put a tree in that spot, but…well…if it lives, it’ll shade the bed that was supposed to be part-shade and has been burning a lot in our killer summer sun. And it’s a redbud. And it was really cheap.
And it looked sad.