Put down roots for you, the birds, bees, and planet earth
“This way, this way,” shouted LJ as he waved an orange flag to guide the truck driver bringing tree saplings into the parking lot. He pulled his cap down lower over his eyes; although it was early morning, the sun was already making its presence known.
LJ and his book club members were volunteers in Puttin Down Roots. This city-sponsored program gives fruit trees to area residents to encourage conversion from conventional ornamental lawns to edible gardens.
An older woman with a cart was the first in line. LJ approached her, “good morning; it looks like you are here for the tree giveaway?’
“I am. I don’t have a yard; I live in an apartment. I want a lemon tree for my small balcony if you have any. I borrowed this cart to bring it home.”
“We have the perfect dwarf Meyer Lemon tree. I’ll bring your cart if you follow me,” said LJ as he took the handle. “What made you decide on a lemon tree?”
“I grew up in Southern California surrounded by citrus groves, and I have never forgotten their sweet smell. Although Meyer lemons are native to China, they grow well in Planting Zone 9, where we live. My neighbors have a couple of the trees on their patio, and it’s fascinating to watch the butterflies and bees pollinate them.”
LJ chuckled, “I have the same situation in my back yard. So far, I have planted avocado, orange, mango, lemon, fig, and apple trees. He walked over to a small tree displaying several lemons, “what do you think about this one? It has flowers, buds, and fruit, which tells us it’s off to a good start.”
“I’ll take it. There’s something spiritual about watching a tree produce flowers, buds, and food. A productive tree represents the cycle of life and the healthy benefits of fresh fruit. By the way, I’m Helen. I love that our city is providing free trees. I hope to grow enough lemons to donate to the local food bank.”
LJ lifted it onto the cart, “Nice to meet you, Miss Helen. I can help bring this one back to your apartment.”
As they walked, she pointed out the number of fruit trees on the street, “my neighborhood committed to transitioning from grass lawns to edible gardens a few years ago. The city…