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Hello, again!

What’s the saying? ‘What’s the best time to plant a tree?’ Rumor has it that the old Chinese Proverb suggests that it was ‘30 years ago’. Of course, the second best time is now! I’m not sure about the origins of the idea, but it’s certainly something I support. This being Arbor Day and Earth Day week, we are all encouraged to be more conscious of our natural surroundings and to make Earth a healthier place for future generations to live. Planting something is certainly one way to do that.

I’m not sure the origins of the tree, but the Burr Oak in my Grandparents’ backyard has to be over 75 years old. Like with many trees, the seeds/acorns can tend to naturalize and then another generation of trees is established. The oak tree in their backyard is no exception. After my time spent at Darrell and Dorothy Westervelt’s Blueville Nursery in Manhattan while attending KSU, I found myself hand digging the volunteer Burr Oaks that had sprouted. After learning how to dig trees from Darrell, I was practicing my new found craft of balling and burlapping the 8-10’ trees. I was like the Johnny Appleseed of the neighborhood, giving trees to whomever would accept one. David McCord, our minister at West Side Christian and neighbor, was lucky enough to receive one. The house that my brother Wes and I lived in on North Edwards received one as well.

Fast forward 50 years and both of those trees are still thriving. My cousin Cheryl and her husband Mike live in my previous residence. Several times a year Cheryl reminds me that I planted that tree in the mid 70’s and how much they enjoy it now! Yes, acorns and all.

The reason these trees are still thriving is because (by chance) it was the right plant in the right spot! Both trees have also had excellent care, being maintained regularly by certified arborists. My advice to you on this Arbor Day and Earth Day week is, if you’re thinking about planting, be sure what you select is suitable for the location you are interested in planting it in. Our staff at the stores can help you with that decision. We also have a handout about Kansascaping which will assist you in selecting plants which we feel do well in our region.

I want to thank you all for your donations at our checkout for Ride the Divide for HumanKind. Your help will go a long way towards helping others in the Wichita area. You can also go to the gofundme page to donate directly if you'd like to help.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Centers

P.S. - Just a side note, when Jeremy was attending KSU he worked for the Westerfeldt family at Blueville Nursery as well. He worked for Dorothy in the store, and one day a week he was Darrell’s helper. We were the first two generations of Johnsons to work at Blueville. And now you know the rest of the story. Good day!