Perusing a recently delivered catalog with many out of the ordinary plant offerings, I am tortured by the listing of a Dove tree with variegated foliage. Rarely do I curse my too frequent neglect and occasional loss of new acquisitions, but by sheer idiocy a young twig of a Dove tree (Davidia involucrata ‘Lady Sunshine’) was left outdoors several years ago in a pot on a patio through several days of below zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures.
Predictably, the tree did not survive, and ever since I have scanned vendors to purchase another. Another, I must say, at a reasonable price, since I’ve seen others selling for over a hundred dollars, which is more than even a plant addict should be willing to pay for such a treasure. The recent sighting of a Dove tree (Davidia involucrata ‘Lady Dahlia’, above, with inferior variegation, but better than nothing) was more affordably priced, certainly not cheap for a tree that is likely to be twelve inches tall, but now I am more conflicted.
Two trees, a Japanese maple and a Chinese dogwood were lost in last year’s constant wetness, so two spots are available, preferably to be filled with something out of the ordinary, but a tree that doesn’t grow too tall or wide since both areas are somewhat limited. The Dove tree, or perhaps the Korean Sweetheart (Euscaphis japonica, above), are appropriately sized, and just odd enough. Why not another dogwood, or Japanese maple? Already there are thirty-some maples and maybe a dozen dogwoods in the garden, so I’d prefer something different, but the problem is that these will be tiny trees from the start, and for too many years.
I would be very tempted by a skinny five or six footer, even for a reasonably ridiculous price, but one or two feet tall is too small. This is a thirty year old garden, and I might not have enough years left to see the tree fill the space. Probably, I’ll look for other trees for the open spots, but in the spirit of purchasing plants whether there’s a suitable place for them or not, I’ll go ahead with buying the Dove and Sweetheart trees. But, this time I won’t make the mistake to leave them unprotected in the cold.
And while I’m being irresponsible, I’ve just found out that a small Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana, above) will be available in the next few weeks. Again, one too small to fill one of the voids, and again, a tree that I’ve grown and killed years in the past. It is a certainty that the only tree with more vicious spines than Monkey Puzzle is a dead one. I’ll always remember digging out the dead tree, Even with gloves, multiple wounds were inflicted.
It would be best not to kill this one. I’m quite certain that the tree prefers a cooler, drier climate, but sometimes this can be worked around with a spot of dry ground and out of the afternoon sun. I have no idea where that’s going to be, but I’ve waited for too many years for another, and here it is. Without question, none of this is particularly logical, but so what?