Tuesday, October 18, 2011

make me laugh & get a free birch tree

yes _you_ could win this fabulous new birch tree.  see below for details.

I have this beautiful little birch tree in a 10 gallon pot sitting in my back yard.  It's about 12 feet tall and maybe an inch and a half across at the base.  I planted it three growing seasons ago, as a little 3-foot twig with some roots at the bottom.  It has been the focal point of the western side of the rain garden for a few years now, just starting to get some white bark, turning from the coppery color that the new bark usually is, starting to get some character.  Everything was going fine until...

We had a new allergy test done for my daughter.  Anyone who is a parent knows that they will do anything for their child's happiness and well-being, and when the allergy test showed that she was off-the-charts allergic to birch pollen- well- my little birch had to find a new home.

We never had any indication of any sort of allergy to birches before- and our neighborhood isn't particularly full of birch trees.  If you go a few dozen miles to the north of here, you start to see quite a few of them- but in the middle of the city- no.  Who can say what caused it?  Funny things happen.

This fine little specimen is a 'Whitespire' Birch.  A hybrid of the lovely native paper birch of the northern forests and a Japanese birch.   Unlike the paper birch, they are resistant to birch borers, and tolerate urban pollution and high temperatures (of the southern Minnesota variety) fairly well.  Like paper birch, they mature to beautiful and very graceful tall trees, maxing out at about 40-50 feet tall.  The bark is paper-white like the paper birch, and the leaves turn bright yellow in the fall.  A great overall tree, and I was looking foward to seeing how it looked together with the spruce in the backyard as it grew older.  Oh well.  My loss is your gain.

It's not like I planned to have a contest.  After I dug it up, it put it on craigslist, with encouragement from Gita.  Were there any calls?  No.  This is a great time of year to plant a tree-- and you can trust me on that.  I'm a landscape architect.  And there are plenty of others who know that too, I'm sure.  But they're not on craigslist looking for birch trees.

So here is the deal.  Post a comment that makes me laugh.  A personal story, funny picture of a kid, limerick, joke (but something you'd be willing to tell your grandma.- because someone's grandma will read this eventually).

there's a tiny bit of damage from a rabbit or squirrel last winter.
The funniest story/picture/joke/comment wins the tree.  Making it relevant to the blog earns you extra credit.

Unfortunately, if you live within a block of me, I'll disqualify you. I am trying to get the pollen away from my daughter after all.  I live in the Snell-ham area of St. Paul, so if you don't, then you're probably fine.

You'll have to pick it up yourself.  As I've mentioned earlier, my only vehicle is a Corolla sedan, and it's not the best vehicle for transporting live trees.  If you are really truly a car-free person, relying on bike or public transit entirely, I will find a way to deliver it to you.  Partly because I want to give this tree away, and partly because you are a fantastic human being for living healthy and not adding to the car clutter in this city.

Post as many times as you like.  I will make a decision Tuesday the 25th.


  1. is that a birch tree in your yard, or are you just happy to see me?

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  3. i love birch trees! in an effort to counter the de-tree-ification of my 'traditional family' neighborhood (remember suburban nation?) and also for privacy, i planted a river birch on the corner of my property 3-4 years ago. now it is now huge! they grow so quickly...ppl tell me it is too big for it's quiet corner, but the tree tells me it is happy.

    here in massachusetts, the farmer's market is about to wind down...I still have yellow tomatoes and even some late season eggplant lingering in my garden. the kale is the thing that still seems to be thriving...eating raw kale, i discovered, gives me a lot of energy (not the stems). last year we had swiss chard growing until thanksgiving, surviving the first few weeks of frost. the only thing is that it gets woody and tough, but still tasty in the sense that it is fresh from the garden. :) i'm now trying to master growing greens indoors...wish i could have an entire winter garden indoors w/o the energy drain of grow lites going all the time.

  4. howdy beej!

    I don't know if this birch tree is worth driving all the way from Mass- but if you want it-- you're the only person with a name to comment so far. I agree that they're great trees. I wish I could keep it in the yard. But- I gotta do right by my little girl.

    We eat kale until xmas here usually. Then the season's over until spring. There is a Maine gardener named Elliot Coleman who wrote a book called "The Four Season Harvest" that tells how to garden year-round. It's a fun read and not very long. Minnesota's climate is a bit too harsh to use all of his recommendations, but I've worked some into my gardening. In Mass. it would be really applicable.

  5. do people use coldframe's in MN? they are somewhat used here....i saw one woman throw a glass door over a raised bed, connected by hinges, and grow late/early season greens like lettuce that way.

    when I was growing up, we had a root cellar and also used to pack carrots in dirt in buckets to store over the winter....worked out pretty well. :)

    what temp is kale hardy til?

  6. I've thought about doing the same thing- only with old storm windows and some lumber. I haven't yet, but it's only because I never have time. Other people have in MN, but the spring temps are pretty unpredictable, so there's a good chance of cooking the greens if you don't vent the cold frame on a sunny, warm day.

    I haven't tried packing carrots in dirt, but I might..

  7. :) wow that's interesting. I thought the weather was predictably (enough) cold that you wouldn't get such warm temps before christmas anyhow...or at least til end of feb/early march. kale seems pretty resilient to both heat and cold. :)

    another thing we used to do is store big hubbard and smaller butternut squash in the root cellar. that's not so uncommon i guess.

    someone just suggested using heat mats for growing greens indoors this time of year too. pretty cheap on amazon.com...

  8. All true.

    Want a birch tree? Looks like you're the only one to comment.

  9. send it via bike courier to mass. ;)