Welcome back to Nine Pines Garden! 

I fed my tree addiction last Thursday at a sale of native trees by Meghan K. Blake, Research Assistant at the Ohio State University Department of Horticulture and Crop Science and the grower of what appeared to be several hundreds of lovely little containerized trees. 

The sale took place at the site where the trees were being raised, the OSU Waterman Farm at the OSU Container Teaching and Research Nursery, 2490 Carmack Road at the northwest reaches of the campus. Why do all these academic outfits have such long names and titles?

Promotional emails that were sent to the Friends of Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens alerted me to the sale and said proceeds from the 3-day sale are slated to fund nursery research and education at Ohio State. (And, I hope, a few Friday night pizzas for the hard-working Meghan and her buddies.)

 Meghan had lots of cool choices available including medium and large trees (when mature) like Yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea), Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) and at least a half-dozen varieties of oak. Unfortunately for me, Nine Pines Garden already has a full complement of large trees (including 2 yellowwoods, 1 blackgum and 3 oaks). Most are not large as of yet but everyone knows that good gardeners site plants responsibly assuring adequate space to accommodate their mature size and that trees are not furniture and must not be treated as such. Of course, no one is responsible all of the time-least of all (alas!) me.

 Never mind…

Although I didn’t plan to buy anything (r-i-g-h-t!), after 15 minutes my flat cart/wagon was fully loaded with plants. Ultimately, by putting one plant back I was able to get them all on the cart without carrying any in my hand—an arbitrary but necessary limit that kept me from feeling like an undisciplined idiot later on.

 The plants were a good value—healthy and inexpensive. Sure, they’re small, but they look very healthy. I feel hopeful for their successful transition into the Nine Pines landscape. 

Here’s the tally… 

  • 1 Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) – I’ve been looking for a sassafras tree for several years (they’re not abundant in local commerce) because of their fabulous fall color. It will occupy a little gap at the west end of the swoosh bed where a seedling kousa dogwood expired last year.


  • 4 Sweetbay magnolias (Magnolia virginiana) & 3 Rainbow Pillar® Serviceberries (Amelanchier canadensis ‘Glenn Form’) – The sweetbays and serviceberries will be alternated in a line along the west side of the house (master bedroom and my office windows located there). I had to remove the beautiful but diseased flowering plum this year. (I will miss those gorgeous blossoms next spring.)  


  • 2 Carolina silverbells (Halesia carolina) – The silverbells will join the single silverbell already in place in the middle of the swoosh bed to fill out that space and to create a more pleasing grouping. 


  • 1 American Hornbeam/Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana) – The hornbeam will be used as a specimen near the street at the southeast corner of the property by the driveway where bulk mulch and compost have been stored for several years waiting to be distributed. My neighbors will be delighted not to have to look at THAT weedy mess anymore.

These were all in 2- or 3-gallon containers so they were small and easy to handle. I have set them out but haven’t planted them yet. It’s amazing how easy it was to find spots for these little guys.

I managed not to fall for the siren songs of the stunning but temperamental Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia) or Franklinia altamaha (Franklinia). My two stewartias both keeled over earlier this year and the emotional wounds haven’t yet healed. How did they get that gorgeous (Stewartia pseudocamellia) specimen to grow in the Cleveland Botanical Garden?

I think I’ll skip the photos of the new trees for now—without leaves, there’s not much to see. We’ll see what they look like in a few months.

 Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment or ask questions.