Arbor Day – Papa’s Dogwood Joins the Farm

Cherokee Princess Flowering Dogwood

Cherokee Princess Flowering Dogwood

As we discover what is growing here, we also hit on the realization that there a lot of holes we can fill. In addition to the missing redbuds I mentioned in an earlier post, we also appear to have no dogwoods on our little flower farm.

When I went looking for “the typical native Virginia white dogwood,” our friendly help at Fort Valley Nursery in Woodstock recommended Cornus Florida ‘Cherokee Princess’ Flowering Dogwood. Our 4-foot tree was priced at $59 and looked very healthy. It appeared to have already flowered, which is ok. We won’t get to enjoy the pretty blossoms this year, but now it will have time to spread out a bit, relax, and grow before we ask too much of it.

We removed the birdbath from its temporary home and replaced it with our new tree. I say “we,” but hubby really did all the digging. We dug the hole twice as wide and amended the hole. Our soil is clay, but it’s relatively fast draining on this sunny hill, and we hope our little dogwood settles in and enjoys its new home.

This tree is our inaugural Arbor Day planting. We’ve decided to add a new tree each year in memory of someone we love. Our first planting is for my maternal grandfather, “Papa” (pronounced like the tree — pawpaw).

Papa

Papa

Papa grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland. Gardening was always an integral part of his life.  His parents were sharecroppers and his dad was an early proponent of raised-bed gardening. (When I showed Papa my first square-foot gardens in the early 2000s, he was thrilled, and that’s when I learned raised beds were in my blood.)

In Papa’s final years, he had a small garden where he mostly grew greens, tomatoes, and beans, but he could still sit for hours and tell me little tips to help me with my own garden. His country knowledge has been on par with the well-researched gardening books I’ve read over the years.

Papa passed about a year before we bought our home. Two ways I honor him are to fly an American flag in appreciation of his service during World War II and to continue my gardening, using the knowledge he shared with me as we sat on his sofa or tended his roses.

Me and Papa

Me and Papa

The first plant purchase for our new home, and our first Arbor Day remembrance is for you, Papa. I think of you often, and I miss you always.

*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>