It has come to my attention that garden centers are far more important to society than I realized. Apparently, when the going gets tough the tough get gardening. Throughout this virus that has sent so many people home, the innate desire to better our surroundings has deemed garden centers as essential. Garden centers are a place that can be shopped outside and distancing can be practiced. Every nursery has their own version of doing this safely. The logistics of getting people and cars in and out with the least amount of contact is a giant challenge we are all faced with. The desire to add plants to our yards has been a very interesting reaction to being forced home with uncertainty in our financial futures.
The week that this article comes to you has two important dates in it. Wednesday, the 22nd is Earth Day. This year the theme for Earth Day is climate action. Earth Day can be celebrated by making a few easy changes even during the stay at home period. The earth will appreciate small things done by a great number of people such as get a recyclable water bottle; it keeps water colder longer anyway.
Plant a garden. Seems like that's happening anyway with all this time on our hands. Become a better grocery shopper, which would mean less processed foods, less packaging and healthier eating. I think people are seeing the need for a healthier lifestyle with the fear of having to visit a hospital or doctor at this time. Earth Day is a day for people to step back, take a deep breath and appreciate earth and all its splendor.
Arbor Day is another important observation this week. On Friday, the 24th of April, Arbor Day is celebrated by planting a tree in honor or memory of a loved one. It is easy to think of someone to plant a tree or two in their honor. This year it seems appropriate to plant one in honor of us all as we weave our way through the world changing event we are all experiencing.
There is a lot to think about before planting a tree. First of all it's kind of like winning a gold fish at the fair times 10. The tree will be around for a long time. It is easy to underestimate how big a tree might get and how far-reaching it effects can be. A large tree can cause a lot of shade and change the types of plants that can be used nearby. The roots of some trees can surface. Between the shade and the roots sucking all the water out of the ground grass can eventually be impossible to grow nearby. Shade and a place grass doesn't do well are good things to me, as it allows for certain ground covers.
A great tree to plant is a Magnolia. There are magnolias that can get gigantic, maybe more appropriate if you have some pasture land to provide space for something that big. For the typical size yard there is usually space for one of the more ornamental size magnolias like the Little Gem or the Teddy Bear, with its fuzzy brown undersides. All of the magnolias get the large white blooms that many songs have been sung about. Look up Sugar Magnolia sometime and turn it up loud, I'll bet you find yourself scooting across the room before you know it.
I recommend Magnolia as one of the choices because they do so well in Mississippi soil. There's not much worse than planting a tree in someone's honor and watching it decline and die.
I would dig the hole twice the size of the root ball and mix some good soil with the native soil and put that back into the hole while planting the tree. I like to plant the rootball a little high by leaving two inches of it above the ground level, that gets those roots a little farther away from the clay. Use root stimulator to water the tree in the day it’s planted and use it two more times after that. Mulch the root ball with whichever mulch you choose to use throughout your yard.
There are so many choices of trees that you could help celebrate Arbor Day with, just make sure you do your homework about what size the tree will get one day and to make sure it's a tree that will do well in Mississippi.
Luckily Mississippi's garden centers are open, just so homebound people will have everything they need to keep their hands busy. This is a great time to get the family involved with some gardening projects. Bringing home a truckload of plants can also have the opposite effect. If you need some alone time, just watch how people scatter like roaches to get away from you and all your garden project ideas. Use the truck loaded with plants for whichever effect you desire, you win either way.