"Come to me,"
Quoth the Pine-tree, "I am the giver of honor.
My garden is the cloven rock,
And my manure the snow;
And drifting sand-heaps feed my stock,
In summer's scorching glow".
O Hemlock Tree! O Hemlock Tree 1 How faithful are thy branches!
Green not alone in summer time, But in the winter's frost and rime.
BUT the question arises, will those little trees on the hill ever attain a satisfactory growth? We have various opinions on this matter, our answer being more or less affected by the season at which it is put, we have a few ups, and a good many more downs about it. For instance, I know few things more depressing than the sight of conifers in May, when every deciduous tree is putting its best foot foremost, and giving promise of a fine crop of leaves. The Pines and Spruces and Firs which have gladdened our eyes all winter, with their fine green masses relieved against the snow, or standing up bravely from the brown grass in rich contrast to the barrenness around, now begin to show the sere and yellow leaf. The March sun and winds have burned and browned their tips, the winter storms have buffeted their branches, and torn great gaps in their outline. Their new shoots are all hidden under a little tight white, or yellow, or brown nightcap that looks dried and wizened, as if no promise of life lurked underneath.
When the snow melts sufficiently for one to walk abroad among his plantations, he views them with a feeling akin to despair, so unlikely do they seem to recover themselves. Some branches are entirely dead, the tops of others are winter-killed, a few have turned copper-color from root to crown, and, beside the bright green of bursting buds and springing grass, the best of them look worn and dingy by contrast.
Not until the middle of May do they pluck up their spirits, pull off their bonnets, and show that their apparent dead-ness resulted from the fact that they take their season differently from their gayer neighbors, and wear their winter furs, however rusty and inappropriate, far into spring while all the others have come out in their new clothes of brightest hue.
Some years June will be here before they condescend to put out the green tassels which are their first adornment, but through the month of roses they do their prettiest, and hang out their banners with the best.
Some of the authorities recommend the month of June as the most desirable for transplanting evergreens, but my experience would lead me to the conclusion that with them, as well as with hard-wood trees, the period before the bursting of the buds is more satisfactory than the time when they have already begun to swell. Seasons vary so decidedly that a few warm days may hasten the new shoots, and they may be three inches long before you think of going for trees, so that they droop discouragingly after transplanting, and sometimes never brace up again. This is particularly the case with Pines, which have a way of drooping their little brown heads despairingly, and refusing to stiffen, in which case, if they cannot be freely watered, they are sure to die.