During the stay at home order, I found myself watching most of the Texas A&M AgriLife’s Water University online training classes. The classes were great but one thing I particularly liked was that a lot of the classes are at 6 or 6:30 PM – HAPPY HOUR!!! I would set up my laptop on the kitchen table, pour myself a glass of something and get out a bag of chips and salsa. When I knew my friend Sarah Sanders was also watching the class, she would do the same and we would text back and forth about the plants we liked. It was not the same as attending a meeting together but we are doing the best we can under these unusual circumstances.
We noticed one tree that was mentioned in almost every class. It was the Rising Sun Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). The instructor, Daniel Cunningham (Horticulturist) said he has one planted outside his kitchen window. Sarah and I were determined to find a spot for one in the courtyard at the Raincatcher’s Garden at Midway Hills Christian Church. We have a large, square brick planter that was initially planted as an herb garden, which was a great idea since it was so close to the kitchen where we do all our cooking for the garden luncheons. However, years passed and we now have a huge fabulous edible garden just a few steps away. It seemed like a great time to repurpose the area for a beautiful view from the church windows.
Here is what we love about this tree. It’s a compact tree (10-12 feet tall with a 10-15 foot spread) and has multiple seasons of interest. It blooms pink flowers in the spring and attracts birds and butterflies. Then, the heart shaped leaves start out as yellow, orange and apricot and turn to lime green when it gets hot. The very best part is that, at some point during the growing season, all of these colors are on the tree at the same time. Then in the fall, the leaves turn orange. I’ve also read that the bark is smooth and yellow, making it attractive in the winter months. It almost seems too good to be true!
Since September is an ideal time to plant trees, Beverly Allen, Sarah Sanders and I strapped on our masks and headed to the courtyard with shovels and rakes in hand. Eight bags of compost were added to the bed. We dug a hole and hoisted a 15 gallon Rising Sun Redbud tree into the planter.
We are hoping we chose just the right tree to plant in just the right spot so it will be a beautiful and fun addition to the courtyard and also easily visible from the Fellowship Hall window. Can’t wait until we can get together again to attend a monthly meeting or enjoy one of our delicious luncheons and have the added bonus of getting to look at this tree out the window. Thanks for the idea, Daniel!
Jackie James – MG Class of 1993
As Jackie said, this is a great time to plant trees and here are two videos to help you: