The March of the Pines

 If you came to Garden Fair this year, you may have caught a strange sight: the giant tree spade of Shade Tree Farm bearing a 20-foot tall white pine like a loaded missile atop a Russian tank. Though it brought the tree to the western border of The Arboretum, it did not launch it toward the Tuleyries and initiate a tree war between our two peaceful and cooperating nations. No, it raised the tree up and dropped it in a man-deep hole, filling a gap in the coniferous border that outlines the arboretum. With a few hundred gallons of water, it should survive and someday take its place among the twisted, wind-swept towers that make our border.

This was a wonderful opportunity for us. With a dense nursery of 12 year old pines grown into a thicket and a captive Garden Fair vendor with a giant tree spade that can move 50-foot trees, Jim Wyatt recognized a grand opportunity: an impressive demonstration of the tree spade that would help us move trees where they were needed. Shade Tree Farm's owner, Philip Klene, graciously agreed to move one tree a day during this and future big events.  He led a parade comprising his giant tree spade, a stuffed golf cart, an all-terrain gator, and the Blandy van all the way to the eastern edge of the property. It took only a few minutes for he and his crew to position the spade just so and plunge the blades deep into the ground. They popped the tree out ensconced in a pyrimidal root ball, tipped it back the length of the truck, and rolled it smoothly along Wilkens Lane to the waiting hole along the wall between Blandy and the Tuleyries. The tree stood tall, straight, and bright green. Don't look now, ye olde twisted pines: the next generation is already teenage.

tree spade lowering tree

Lowering a white pine tree into the ground

People who saw the tree rolling across the land and did not think of Russian missiles may have thought of Shakespeare's Macbeth instead. In that story, three witches, grimy with all manner of entrails bubbling in pots, prophecy to Macbeth that he shall not be vanquished until the Great Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill, something he grows cocky over, saying: "Who can ... bid the tree unfix his earth-bound root?" In MacBeth, it turns out to be Malcolm's army camouflaged with sticks. At Blandy, it turns out to be Philip Klene. tree spade carrying pine tree
Carrying tree across the Arboretum
tree settled into new position
Welcome to your new home, Mr. Tree.