Weeding the front garden bed last week, I discovered a redbud sprout several inches tall. I was sure it wasn’t there the week before; but how could it not have been there the week before, and be several inches tall now? Then I went to thin interlopers out of the lamium, and darn if there wasn’t another redbud. I pulled thistles from under a pine tree, and well, look – a whole redbud grove. There was one in the fenced garden. One in the blueberry cages. One against the garage wall. They were everywhere. I had never seen this amount of redbud fecundity before. Was it the long, cool spring? The alternating hot/chill summer weather? Had the deer been eating them before and now suddenly had a change of diet? Was it just because this is the strangest year ever?
Well, they are beautiful trees. We planted a couple when we moved in here, but little did we know they would generate so many volunteers. If I’m going to have a redbud forest, I thought I should learn something about their care. So I went online. I read that they live 50 to 70 years, and I read that they seldom lived more than 20. I read that they weren’t picky about soil, and I read that they needed soil that drained well. I read that they liked sun and I read that they required shade. Most disturbingly, I read that they were also called Judas Trees. I was dubious, because they’re small and don’t have the kind of structure a person could easily hang himself from. Clearly, at least half of this information was of very poor quality, and naturally this made me doubt all of it.
So the redbuds and I are on our own. We will do this without help from the Magical Intertubes, though I am using them to tell you this tale. I plan to pay close attention to what the redbuds are doing out there, encourage those that thrive, and transplant those that don’t. Dream all you want about a garden, if it’s not a fact-based operation it will fail.