The two least predicted are the two most in need of a trim, and they are the plum trees – one Sunburst plum, and one Bluebird plum. I originally thought that they would struggle the most because of their penchant for sandy soil over clay, but perhaps the leftover patio sand tossed into the bottom of their planting holes fooled them. They are currently out-of-control renegades whose craggily arms attempt a ghoulish canopy over the driveway.
The other two more refined individuals in queue for a weekend trim are the two apple trees out back offsetting the short winding path to the patio. They are the Harlequin apple – rounded and plump like an upturned apple itself, and the Liberty apple, whose limbs grow straight out, then boast right-angle offshoots straight up. Two of a kind, but completely different in shape and growing pattern.
Our fifth tree was the heartbreaking casualty of the five and it was all my fault. She was a nectarine tree with the most beautiful flowers of them all. We lost her last summer to my enthusiastic over-pruning too late in the season.
The trees were our gift to each other four years ago for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We picked them out at the co-op and planted them that spring. They are Harley, Libby, Reenie, Sunny, and Toby, named after the strain of fruit they each produce, and they are – coincidentally – in alphabetical order from east to west. Four of them produce beautiful blossoms that beckon to birds and insects in spring and summer, then evolve into a delicious banquet for the squirrels come fall harvest. Reenie still adds woody contrast to the lot in her own way.
This weekend will be the first spell outside with spring attention in mind and heart, and that is a welcomed thing. Pruning, puttering, and pondering about how much, what to plant, and where.
Prune, putter, ponder.