I have a 70 foot Ginkgo biloba at the east border of my landscape garden. The following diary of events is visually, one of the most spectaclar events of the garden’s landscape calendar.
The normal Ginkgo biloba growing in a happy location is a big, big tree. A generation or two ago here in the Twin Cities there was one 25 foot Gb of note growing at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis proper. It was considered noteworthy because it was 25 feet tall and located in a prestigous burial place for the wealthy and political well to do.
It was felled by a June tornado sometime around 1985-1990 an event that gave this Mpls Gb final notoriety.
Bureaucrats in the city discovered the tree was rather tolerant of bad air and its residues and so declared it a tree for the boulevard grounds in the city where trees had fallen from elm disease and tornados and poor city tree plantings in the first place.
Goverment departments whether in city, state or Washington are usually limited to one thought.
When the more fastigiate Ginkgl bilobas were discovered the urban bureaus got the one thought…….
It is NOT a good boulevard tree, whether pointy or natural in shape.
My Ginkgo biloba was ‘born’ in 1974 and transplanted into a 4″ pot late in that year when I placed it at its today’s location and developed its 70 plus foot high natural form.
Was I the wise landscape genious who could forsee the future breadth, height, and beauty of this blessed of all Minnesota trees?
Are you kidding? I wasn’t sure it would live anywhere at all. There were a handful of some medium sized Gbs in the five county area of the Twin Cities, but I didn’t know anyone who knew what a Ginkgo was……and rembered seeing one …….at that cemetery I mentioned previously.
Suddenly in four years my Gb passed me by in height. A handful of years later it quadrupled my size in height.
I was fully aware since my youth Gbs were dioecious by RNA. Now that means that some Gbs are male…..guys who can’t deliver seeds to reproduce the species, but are required to permit female flowerlike parts of the plant to fulfill her female duties. The species was thought to be extinct a couple centuries ago. It had been identified in fossil form to have lived 60,000,000 years ago….immediately after Earth’s great holocaust which excused Tyrannasaurus Rex and such from our world.
Lo and behold, extinction as yet, was not Gbs fate. Although more closely related to a Spruce rather than an Elm, it was discovered in its more elmlike form on a religious retreat in western remote China growing in rows tended by monks…..the Chinese kind.
Having read about that when only a high school tyke, I knew that some day I had to try to own one.
I have loved my Gb since it was about six feet tall. After twenty and more years, I felt jilted.
In the landscape trade only male gingos are allowed for sale at your local nursery. Remember a rule of Nature…..Nothing is Perfect in Nature. Mistakes are Made all of the Time.
Landscape literature coming from I don’t know where announced that Gb fruit, which appears yellow and small apricot-like at maturity, stinks like human vomit…..and that would be repulsive in most non=political neighborhoods.
Since my Gb was born by the natural blending of female by male, I spent years awaiting evidence that I own a female. Sorry, guys, but I longed for a female Gb. I simply wanted her. And, after 35 years of waiting with the tree over 60 feet tall, I knew I had been jilted.
Gb’s autumn display of color is very brief. A week ago the entire tree’s waxy thick fan-shaped leaves were summer-green. Then in three days the entire tree’s waxy thick fan- shaped leaves turn blinding yellow. In one day….that is, three days ago, half ot the tree’s leaf load dropped, and yesterday the second half dropped……tons of the brightest yellow Nature’s colors can achieve covered lawn and garden forty feet around its trunk. With or without sunshine the sight was blinding……and beautiful.
This is my Gb’s habit every autumn…..in three days the crown turns from a shiny green to a brilliant shiny yellow, and on the fourth day Gb drops its first load, and the next day, its second, rain or shine.
Three years ago from yesterday or the day before my great respect for my Gb skyrocketed far further. I was raking its leaf tonnage…..beware….one leaf rake load of Gb leaves can easily snap the rake in half……and guess, what? I smelled human vomit!…..and shouted joy to the heavens.
My wish came true…..she’s a female.