The Triumph of Hope Over Experience


Okay – Samuel Johnson was talking about second marriages. I’m talking about trees.

When we moved here in 2000, my Jim looked at the driveway and envisioned a line of trees on both sides. Sort of like every other driveway in Miami County, but yes, it’s a pretty look.

We went out and bought some not-cheap maples, which did nicely the first year. Then they died. The following year, we found some maples for $6 each, bought and planted them. They did very well for a couple of years. Then all but one died and that last tree is hanging on by a thread.

In talking to master gardener friends, I learned I might have better luck with native trees. My friend Lenora tempted me to drive to the annual Miami County Extension Master Gardeners’ plant sale by promising to save me three native tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera).

“Tree” is a bit of a misnomer. Actually, I hesitate to call them saplings. They looked like plants so when I bought them last April, I put them in pots. They grew like weeds.

After reading a bit about tulip trees – also called yellow poplar – I decided to plant them in raised rounds. Everything that I’ve put in a raised bed has thrived here, including a blue spruce. Almost everything planted directly in the ground has died. Maybe these trees will grow. Or not die.

The National Forest Service says that tulip trees top out at about 80 feet. They grow approximately 1-2 feet a year. So let’s see. When these trees are mature, assuming they grow 2 feet a year, I will be about 105.

The triumph of hope over experience!


8 thoughts on “The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

  1. Patience is the key (assuming you planted them correctly, i.e., in a shallow hole with the flairs above ground). The rule for perennials (and trees are the ultimate perennials) is “sleep, creep, leap.” The first year after planting they sleep. The second year they barely creep, but the third year they LEAP into action. Patience is a virtue to be cultivated by gardeners.

  2. I tend to plant things native to the area because they grow so well. However, I think location is the big key so the soil, amount of sun, wind etc is what I would look at closely 🙂

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