Just Call Me Johnny Appleseed

Anonymous public art meets horticulture?
I love the idea of growing things. I don’t know why, I just do. I haven’t done very much of it though — it usually requires more time and discipline than I’m able or willing to give. But, I still love the idea of it. I always have. I especially love the idea of growing things that bear food of some kind — fruit or vegetables. I don’t know, there’s just something attractive about the idea of, through my own care and work, bringing something alive into being and seeing it produce fruit capable of providing sustenance and pleasure to the senses.

This is our first spring in the new house and the previous owners have left property fairly devoid of any sort of plant life. This needs to be rectified! So, we’ve been deciding on what to plant. I love trees, so we’re putting in a few. And, because I like the idea of fruit in the yard, we’re heading down to a local nursery this week to pick up a 5-in-1 apple tree sapling that will soon find a new home in our back-yard.

In all of the thinking we’ve been doing regarding what type of fruit trees we’d like to plant, my interest in such growing has become rekindled. I’ve been thinking I’d like to plant fruit bearing trees everywhere — all over the place. Everywhere needs trees! Fruit bearing trees! And, during all of this attention to such things, an attractive idea came to me.

Readers of mine should be aware of my attraction to anonymous public art, and an idea to marry these two attractions of mine came to me: The covert planting of apple trees on public land! Of course, I wouldn’t do it in any area where the tree would be obstructive to public use of the land. I’ve scoped out a few wooded areas within the city that are heavy with tree growth already, and also contain areas within its perimeters that would likely be friendly to the vitality of a young apple tree sapling. An extra two trees dropping fruit every year, close to the edge of the wooded areas, would in no way hinder anyone in their usage of the area. The areas are all well visible from high-traffic areas, but the areas themselves are almost never approached by humans.

Of course, being a starving artist, I don’t have the money to purchase multiple, professionally grown apple tree saplings for the purposes of transplanting to these public areas. ($50.00 – $75.00 a pop) So, I’ve been eating my fill of delicious apples from my local supermarket, saving the seeds, and attempting to germinate them.

Yes, I know all about the likelihood of apple trees grown from seed producing edible apples, but that’s ok. I’ve been germinating the seeds from two different varieties of apple and my plan is to plant trees two by two, within close proximity of each other. Hopefully this will increase the chances of one pollinating the other, instead of my tree being pollination by some nearby crab-apple tree or something, thus, hopefully, somewhat increasing the likelihood of an edible apple. I’ve done my research on which two varieties are likely to pollinate each other, and which are likely to survive in this temperate zone, etc. But, I realize the chances of my trees producing anything edible are still fairly slim. That’s fine with me though. If I get nothing but horrendously small, hard, dry, bitter apples, I’m sure the wildlife will still like them, and the trees will still be welcomed by native birds looking for nesting areas. And, that’s more than enough for me to make it worth it.

I don’t know, the thought of driving by a city park 15 or so years from now and seeing that large apple tree growing off in the corner, and knowing that tree is there because of my actions… well, there’s some strange attraction in that. The idea that generations of wildlife have used my tree, eaten its fruit — the idea that numerous people have used my tree for shade while enjoying a day in the park, or enjoying the fragrance, or beauty of its blossoms, all without knowing anything about the origin, or story behind how that tree came to be there — I don’t know… I like the idea of that. Does that make this crusty, cynical poet and artist all “Disney”, or something? Perhaps.

So, I’ll germinate as many of these seeds as I can, and once I get a few (if I get a few — fingers crossed) that grow into a plant which will be viable on its own out in the world, I’ll sneak onto per-designated plot of public land, under cover of darkness, and transplant a couple of them there. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do this in a few locations around the city.

If all goes well, I’ll keep you posted.

If you’re careful about not creating any sort of burden on anyone who does not want it, then planting a tree and bringing forth life can never be thought of as any sort of bad thing can it? This isn’t some form of eco-terrorism, is it? …like I care…

Maybe, seven or eight years or so from now, I’ll even publish the locations of my trees, and you can go and taste my apples.

And, if you’re really interested in this project and have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket, you can always act as benefactor! Send a few dollars my way via a pay-pal donation and I’ll put your funds towards acquiring a nursery grown sapling to covertly plant.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: