Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Beautiful "Says Who" Tree

I love this tree!  It's my "Says who?" tree!  No, that's not some new hybrid tree.  It's a special name I gave it that puts a big smile on my face as I look at it every day.  It's a special tree because it represents, to me, something that I want to remember everyday.

You see, when we moved back to the midwest after four years in North Carolina, I was smitten with Crape Myrtle trees. They grow quite easily in North Carolina and they are "everywhere."  It's like the oak or bradford pear trees of the midwest.  Everyone has one or is planting one.

I not only loved the colors of these beauties when they'd flower but also the trees' bark that peels away each year revealing a beautiful smooth bark underneath. 

When carefully pruned, I always thought it was a tree that had a lot of character, and I wanted to have one in our North Carolina yard.  But as fate would have it, we left so quickly that I didn't have time to plant one. However, when we built our home here, the first thing I said was, "I'm going to plant a Crape Myrtle in the front yard."

I explained what I wanted to do at the local garden center and they warned me that Crape Myrtles do not survive the winters of this growing "zone" and that I should expect it to die back each year.  I was heart-broken!  "You mean it will never grow to even six or eight feet high," I recall asking.  After hearing a big N-O, I went to several other garden centers looking for someone to tell me that I could indeed grow a Crape Myrtle in this "zone."  Everyone had the same answer with the same reasoning.  The plant isn't hardy in this zone...it gets too cold here.

Discouraged, yet a little defiant, I planted one anyway.  My reasoning then was that I "had" to try, and if it did die back each year, well, at least I could enjoy a very short Crape Myrtle each year.  I'd have a Crape Myrtle bush, and maybe, just maybe, I could figure out how to protect it from the cold, ice and snow and it could grow.  Maybe.

Those first couple of years I pampered my new plant.  I watered it religiously and tried to protect it's base from the harshness of the winters.  Surprisingly, it lived after the first winter without dying back.  Then the second year came and went.  It was standing strong.  Now here it is in all its glory twelve years later!  It stands at least 25 feet high now and as you can see, it's a stunner!

I call it my "Says Who?" tree because that's the stubborn reaction I had when everyone told me I couldn't do it.  I had the determination to give it a try when everyone said it would never grow.  

It's a great reminder to me of how I should at least always initially question, with a big "Says who?" those naysayers who suggest I can't do something.  Because sometimes you just don't know, unless you give it a try!