You don’t hear a lot about chestnut trees anymore. The word makes you think of antiques and old barns. Disease has sadly decimated our chestnut trees over the last hundred years.
Inspired by our local horticulture group, I decided this spring was the perfect time to bring them back.
I started them in milk cartons in March, after a winter stored in dark recesses of a refrigerator hidden beneath cheese and bacon. When I was ready to plant them, one had a tiny sprout and one didn’t, but they have grown in perfect unison.
A handful of friends and I are growing Japanese Chestnut trees from nuts, as these are much more resistant to the chestnut blight, a disease that almost obliterated our native population that stretched from Maine to Georgia, and west to the great Mississippi.
The blight was first recognized in the early 1900’s, and within 40 years it had wiped out most chestnuts from our eastern forests, a mainstay in many animals diets, as well as a source of hardwood for furniture, rot resistant fence posts and home building.
I am so pleased with my seedlings stalwart growth. They have grown effortlessly.
The danger is, snuggled at it’s base is a nut coveted by chipmunks and squirrels, all hellbent to consume the prize.
One of my friends came home to utter carnage, delicate baby trunk tossed aside, and the mother seed gone.
Her dogs were supposed to guard and protect the seedlings, perched on the backdoor stoop, close to the doggie door… but it rained all day. Who could blame them for snuggling up in their bed, paws hiding their eyes from a dreary day without their mistress.
That was dreadful news, so my twins have been confined indoors. It’s a hungry world beyond this door. I have to equip them with armor – a mesh that shrouds their tender seed. In the meantime, indoor life is stealing their robust growth.
I am witnessing one of life’s miracles. I am reverent.