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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Today I have to complete the planting of five small trees. I did three yesterday.

Getting those plants was a lucky stroke. I used to be an active beekeeper, and that means I have lots of equipment still on my premises, and the other day a young woman came with her parents from north in the county and picked up a pickup truck load of boxes, preparatory to going back into beekeeping herself. Her venture will be on a small scale but still risky, because scientists still haven't found a satisfactory way to deal with the two kinds of mites that have been so devastating to honeybees in the last 10 years.

We bartered, and in return she gave me these plants from the nursery where she works, here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, in western Virginia, betwixt Lynchburg and Charlottesville. They sell only trees, shrubs, and the like that produce stuff you can eat, hence its name, Edible Landscaping. They have a neat website at, naturally, www.ediblelandscaping.com.

So now I have two edible dogwoods, two pawpaws, and one che-fruit. The last-named produces a small seedless red fruit that she says tastes like watermelon but her catalog says it tastes like figs. Dogwoods grow wild and in great profusion here in our 20 acres of largely oak woods, but until a few days ago I didn't know there were such things as edible dogwoods. The edible parts are the pretty red berries that appear in the fall, and last year big flocks of birds appeared for a few hours and went from tree to tree, gorging themselves. Hitherto we hadn't noticed them doing it in such concert.

I am planting these trees with much excitement and also considerable optimism, because as you know, with the exception of Paradise trees -- also variously called junk trees, trees of Heaven, and oleanthus -- the growth habit of trees is not the speediest, and I already, as they say in Europe, have 72 years.


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