I named the Japanese Maple tree "Roald," and thought of it as "him" even before I'd left the nursery. Growing up in Detroit, my only horticultural experience was tending a Venus Flytrap plant as a kid (which ingrained me with the belief that pieces of bologna were viable plant food). My wife and I had just built a home in a subdivision that had once been a farmer's field. Seeing all of the freshly-turned dirt surrounding our house struck a get-back-to-the-earth chord in me. In fact, I didn't even think of it as dirt, but as loam. And from that loamy earth I imagined a lush lawn rising, flowers bursting in profusion, and possibly even planting a small vegetable patch in the backyard.
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