Friday, April 22, 2011

the Lucky 9

The Ginkgo tree was something that I had always been interested in. There are a ton of them on my campus and whenever Fall came around I would stand around, one particular Ginkgo tree, just appreciating how amazing it looked. The leaves are really what caught my eye to begin with. They're very simple in design and the bright yellow color they turn in autumn really make them nice to look at. The leaves are fan shaped and they seem to split in two different directions from the center. What causes this shape is the underlying vascular system classified as "dichotomous venation", where the veins continuously divide into "two's".

Anyways, I actually began planting some basal and oregano seeds this year during March. Don't ask me why, I just had this sudden urge to plant something and watch it grow. Well, that was fun for a while until I began having this subtle feeling of discontent every time I looked at my basil plants. Later I realized that the feeling came from knowing that it was absolutely pointless to grow basil plants since I don't intend on cooking with them or staring at their flowers. I wanted to grow something that would last and of course what I thought of was trees. So I began scouring the internet in search of an interesting tree to grow. I began my search with species that were native to my state and they all turned out to be familiar and boring. So that's when I remembered the "interesting tree" that I always found myself so interested in during the autumn season. After searching stupid words phrases like "nice looking tree in autumn" in Google, I finally came across the name of the tree I was looking for, Gingko Biloba. I found... TONS of information and I spent hours over several days reading up on this SUPER interesting tree. However, I suddenly found myself with an intense desire to find Ginkgo seeds and grow them myself. That is when I stumbled upon Cor Kwant's webpage ( Not only does this webpage contain everything you would possibly want to know about the Ginkgo tree but it has a crap ton of information on HOW to grow this tree from a seed or by grafting. AND... Kwant even has a directory of elder Ginkgo trees in almost every major city in every U.S. State. 

And THAT is how I found my 9 seedlings. These seedlings were found at Old St. John's Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA. When I arrived at this Church I learned that this was also the place that Patrick Henry delivered his famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech on March 23, 1775. Anyways, I found a stunning old female Ginkgo tree towards the back of the Church. I had headed to St. John's Church after work with absolutely no expectation of finding seeds. I just wanted to see if I could find some old Ginkgo's and to verify if Kwant's information was accurate. Well, as I was standing under the tree completely taken by it's glory, I realized that my steps were producing strange crunching noises. I look down and there are TONS of seeds all over the ground (I made a very embarrassing noise). I frantically started collecting them and realized that there also must be some seeds that had germinated, and boy did I find some. So I went back home and planted the 9 seedlings in separate pots and watered the CRAP out of them because I didn't want them to die. I also cleaned off each seed (50 of them) individually to ensure that the remnants of the seedcoat were completely removed and I placed them on a wet kitchen towel to promote germination (the outer shell of the seeds must always be in contact with moisture). I'm going to tell the whole seed story way later.

It's been a little over a full week since I transplanted the seedlings. By the way, the seedlings were growing in the grass around the mother Ginkgo tree and I knew that the lawn was very well taken care of (they were probably going to get mowed over). Anyways, I was worried that the seedlings weren't going to survive so I made absolute sure they were hydrated and they got proper sunlight since the leaves on some of the had sprouted (ready for photosynthesis). I kept this up every day for about a week and some change and I recently noticed how well they were doing. Some of them have grown taller and sprouted new leaves and the baby of the group seems to be growing new limbs.

I borrowed my roommates sweet digital camera (Canon PowerShot G10) to take some pictures. I'm pretty new to the whole photography thing but I managed to do some quick research on how to utilize the various functions (ugh) to produce some nice close up shots of the seedlings. I hope you'll be able to forgive my novice abilities. I'll be photographing these seedlings to show progression of growth in future posts. ENJOY!

No comments:

Post a Comment