All I want for Christmas is a Ginkgo.
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I’m married to a man that likes to plant things. He’s a farmer’s son. Go figure. Instead of a new tool or “man toy” he wants to buy a tree or a new plant he’s just learned about. He’s also conservative with the money, so with very little monetary investment he’s managed to comprise a wide assortment of plantings on our property.
When we moved about 2 years ago to a new home plopped in the middle of the woods we had a bunch of landscaping to do. Initially we treked to the local nurseries snagging any deals we could find, as well as the local sale at Clemson every fall. After that we spent a little here and there, but a large majority of our landscaping has been free.
There are the trees that he’s transplanted from our own woods…birch, poplar, maple and even a dogwood – about a dozen in all. All free. And all have survived so far except one. That was a sad day.
Then there’s Miss Beth and Miss Ineke from church. Both possess green thumbs. I can’t tell you everything they’ve given us over the past couple years when things have needed dividing or for them to make room for something else. What a treat.
And of course there’s both sets of our parents who we’ve amassed quite the collection of wax myrtles, red buds, bulbs, money plant, lambs ear and other varieties from. Needless to say we never turn down free plants and have a veritable plethora of specimens to try to keep alive. Can’t imagine what it will all look like in 10 years.
This year we’ve hit a road block. The Ginkgo tree. My husband bought one at deep, deep discount at our former abode but it didn’t make it. Considering the going rate for a 5′ Ginkgo around here is $100-150.00, $7.00 was wishful thinking to begin with. Anyway, this year he’d like to plant one. For that price, it may have to be a Christmas present.
We first became aware of Gingko trees when our former neighbor, JB, planted one. JB was like that guy, Wilson from Home Improvement that talked to Tim through the fence and was really smart. JB knew everything about everything but he wasn’t a smarty-pants. Any question we could ask that had anything to do with science, history or human relations JB could answer.
Once a stray cat climbed a tree in our yard and wouldn’t come down so we called JB. JB walked up in our yard with ropes and spikes for his boots and in a few seconds he was 40 feet up the tall, straight chestnut oak. JB was a nice guy. And that was one happy cat.
JB could explain northern lights, gross domestic product, the Electoral College and he was fluent in 12 languages. He also played the guitar and was even once Captain Von Trapp in a production of The Sound of Music, singing and strolling, guitar and all. A man of many talents.
Anytime there was an international incident, hostage crisis, or a child in a well, JB would suddenly have to leave town on “business.”
Coincidence? I think not.
His story was that he was some kind of inspector at an underwear plant in South America.
Rumor has it JB was a scientist on the Manhattan project, he actually did invent the internet, negotiated the Bosnian cease fire and developed Tang. JB, I don’t know where you are now, but man, you rock. You rock.
So when my husband saw JB plant a Gingko, he knew it must be the thing to do.
A beautiful tree, the Ginkgo dons fanlike leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall. It’s quite striking – almost glowing in the sunlight. Did you know that scientists believe there are no wild Gingko’s still in existence? Ginkgo’s have been cultivated for centuries in Asia and the Ginkgo varieties we have now are thought to be related to species that once grew wild in Asia.
Archeologist have findings that show that the Ginkgo’s covered a large part of North American and Asia long ago before the ice age. That must have been a sight to see in the fall.
Ginkgo’s are hearty. They can tolerate a wide variety of conditions so they are ideally suited for the urban landscape. Some of the prettiest ones we’ve seen were in Washington, DC and Savannah, GA. Huge trees lining parks. And of course Ginkgo is well known for it’s medicinal and herbal benefits but that’s another post altogether.
I guess I’ll be on the lookout for a good and healthy Ginkgo in the next few weeks. Unless of course JB shows up in the middle of the night dressed as one particular white bearded, red coated, jolly man and plants one for us.
What are you planning on planting this year? Is there an interesting specimen that you can tell us all about? Or is this going to be the first year you plant an herb garden?
I hope you get your ginkgo! So far I have been rotten at planting trees, though I’ve not tried too many. Talk about me planting a tree in front of any family members and all you’ll get is the story about how I took out the north side of my great-grandmother’s pine sapling so that the plastic baby Jesus would have something cushioning his manger. The tree still bears the scars.
Sounds like the perfect Christmas present to me. What you have to say about ginkgo’s and these gorgeous pictures of yours make me want to plant my very own ginkgo. Let me know if you find a good deal. I want to meet JB… he sounds like a fascinating person!
My husband got pretty excited about planting trees when we moved into our house about a year and a half ago – he got some fruit trees, and lovingly cares for them. I, on the other hand, have been battling a black thumb…and am trying to grow us some fresh veggies. Today I picked up a few more seedlings at the farmer’s market – some little red potato starters and one for purple cauliflower! So far, I have managed to successfully start a bunch of lettuce from seed, and haven’t killed my herbs, chard or broccoli. And our pole beans have started to spontaneously sprout all over the yard – did I really throw the tough and rotten pods that far? Excited to hear about your adventures in ginko hunting – and I’ll keep you posted on my efforts to keep my veggies alive!
That looks beautiful! I have never really planted anything…just moved into our new house after getting married so we have some work to do. 🙂
Did you say you have a money plant?? That’s the one I want to hear about! Although I have never had much luck with plants myself, usually drowning them or not watering enough. I wasn’t blessed with a green thumb. (Ben does love to plant though. I always say he was born a century too late. He likes to grow veggies, chop wood, build fires and other pioneer man stuff.) Hope Santa brings your gingko!
I love your photos, they are stunning! Next year we plan on having a huge garden and new landscaping. I can’t wait. We planted tulips over the weekend, I can’t wait for spring!
Not to brag or anything, big sis, but I’ve got a ginko tree out back. It is the brightest yellow you’ve ever seen. Okay, so it’s no giant – only 6 feet tall – but it’s a beauty. Just a tidbit…the SC State House is surrounded by huge ginkos – worth a trip down to see.
JB sounds awesome! I just loved this post!
I’ve never even seen a gingko tree before or a gingko leaf although I have seen the patter on things before. In fact, now that I know what they are, I see there are gingko leaves on my hope chest.
Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures. You should consider selling your photos on Etsy. Really you should. You could by plants with your earnings 🙂
Beautiful gingko pictures…awesome!! You need to take a “Wilson-like” photo of JB. Hope you get your Christmas wish!
LOL about JB — he sounds like a guy you’d like to have on your side. And somebody you’d not wanna run in to in a dark alley!
GORGEOUS ginkgo shots, Amy! Especially love the ones with dew on them — very sparkly.
Oh wow! I love your gingko photos. Here’s hoping I can learn photography. Right now, I can’t blame it on the camera so I suppose it must be user error :-). I have a slightly green thumb and would love one of these trees. Those leaves are gorgeous. As somebody said there are gingkos around the SC State House, I think I’m going to have to go on a road-trip to Columbia.
This is such a lovely post!! I wish you a wonderful gingko-filled Christmas!!
Just be sure it is a MALE ginko tree. Do NOT plant a female ginko. The fruit they grow smells like vomit. I had to work at a location that had female ginko trees and I spent 28+ years hating them.
Deb in Newhall
I heard about that. Thanks for the reminder.
:-] Amy J.
These photographs are stunning– some of the very best I’ve seen of our yellowing fall.