My sister called me yesterday and told me she had some plants for me, and asked if she should bring them over. I told her yes and invited her to stay for soup and muffins for supper.
We have a near back yard here, which is about sixty or seventy feet, then a middle back, and then a bit of a crest and the "far back" slopes gently downhill. Last spring, long before anything had started blooming, I decided I wanted to put forsythia in the far back. The tree outside the kitchen sink window usually covers much of the view, but in early spring when there are no leaves, I look out at a dull, brown vista, so I decided some early blooming yellow would make me feel hopeful.
EG wanted his ashes scattered here at home, so we decided to put them in the "far back." I then made up my mind that we would supplement the forsythia with some daffodils, which my sister suggested letting naturalize. The yellow flower project expanded to include some day lilies and some black-eyed Susans. My sister was thinning hers yesterday; thus, the arrival of our first plants.
I thought putting the flowers under one of the trees out there would be nice. Eventually they could choke out the buckthorn which grows under there by default, and I would have less to trim under the trees. We dug the wet earth, and then I tenderly tucked the plants into the soil.
Then we discussed other plans for the planting, and I mentioned that the one apple tree back there was slowly dying, mostly due to the deer. I said it was going to have to go in the future. My sister started to rock the tree, and next thing we knew, we were ripping it out of the ground, leaving one large root intact. Rocky, intrigued by all that "girl power," apparently, ran back to us, and we sent him for a series of tools. Pretty soon, he was providing muscle power, and the tree was out. Rocky and my sister sawed parts of the tree off to provide manageable portions, and we dragged them off into the wood stack EG had started in the weeds.
Then, since we were on a roll, my sister took a shovel and smacked the tenderly placed black-eyed Susans into the ground. "Now their roots will take," she explained. "They're pretty hardy."
This morning, I reflected on two things. First, there is a certain irony in these plants being called "black-eyed Susans." And second, I guess we're pretty hardy, too.