A few of my favorite things can be found in the picture above: water (!!!); a blue sky with little puffy clouds; fishing boats and docks; soft, green grass that doesn’t stab your feet with the sad effects of an Oklahoma drought; and blue spruce pines. This is Little Cedar Lake, outside of West Bend, Wisconsin, which, in itself, is the best part of the picture above.
During our vacation to southeastern Wisconsin this summer, I couldn’t get enough of those blue spruce pines. I’d point and exclaim, “There’s another one!” every time we drove past one. My uncle drove us to see his old farmhouse and, lo and behold, an entire section of the property had become a tiny forest of blue spruce pine trees. It turns out my cousin, who has lived at the farmhouse for years now, brought a few of those abandoned trees home a long time ago and stuck them in the ground to see what would happen.
This is what happened:
Ever since I left Wisconsin I haven’t stopped yammering on about how much I love these trees. I’ve looked for them in local nurseries (Oklahoma City, believe it or not, actually has a few USDA planting zones because the terrain is so varied here), and I’ve looked on Google for information regarding the care and planting of these trees in my particular zone. The chances of a blue spruce surviving this environment – hot, dry, windy – are minimal. Not impossible, but the chances aren’t great. I figured I would just hold out until our next trip to Wisconsin to see them and smell them again.
Then I got a package in the mail yesterday. It was from my aunt and uncle in Wisconsin who have been known to gift members of my family with huge boxes of Wisconsin-made cheese. This usually happens around Christmastime, but I eat Wisconsin cheese any time of the year! Except this package smelled like…pine?
Inside the carefully wrapped package was a tiny blue spruce pine of our very own.
I’ve talked with two tree experts at a local nursery, both of whom are wishing me luck. In some parts of the city, these blue spruce pines might make it. In other parts of the city, they don’t stand a chance. It was suggested that I keep Bruce (yes, Bruce the Blue Spruce) in a container until our ground temperatures drop to 60-70 degrees (it’s been in the low 100s this week, if that’s any indication of how long we might be waiting). Then we’ll plant Bruce in the northwest corner or the yard and coddle him like that newborn baby he is.
It’ll be decades before our blue spruce pine is the size of those in the pictures above. We’re realistic, though. Our goal, at least for now, is to keep him alive in the container until late fall/early winter. I’ve already decided he will live on my bedside table in the meantime.