The ‘Portugy’ & the Italian Part IV Our Family Of Trees Meet ‘Olive’

I have a special love for ‘Olive’. In March1995, I received her from Rick for my birthday. For a year and a half I visited her at the nursery. In September, we moved Olive home. She has grown into a majestic tree and is the centerpiece of our garden.

Planting ‘Olive’ wasn’t easy. Rick and I had to first determine the location. We selected an area along the back fence that seemed a suitable place. Still a babe in olive tree age, she would need a hole 4 ft square and 4 ft deep. Not a small effort, Rick began digging. At a point, Franko, an ‘old fart’ friend, visited our garden to discuss the design. He took one look and suggested moving the hole four feet. As the task was nearly done; this was not a happy day for Rick. He fought the idea but dug a second hole. Finally, Olive’s bed was centered in the perfect focal point of our garden.

Easy enough to have the nursery deliver the boxed tree to our driveway, the next challenge would become how to move this tree into the back garden and ‘place’ it into the four foot square hole. Rick surmised that if he placed the tree on a palette, with a palette jack and two 4X8 pieces of plywood, he could maneuver the tree by placing one piece of plywood under the palette and one piece in front. With the palette jack, he would slide the boxed tree forward plywood onto plywood. History would repeat itself as Rick had read of a similar method used by the Egyptians who used logs to move large stones to build the pyramids.

On a beautiful day in September, our tools and equipment assembled, the path to the hole readied, we began. Two men and ‘a mouth’ moved Olive; the two men, Rick and Nikko and the mouth, me. The move across the front path was smooth. However, the first problem we encountered was at the corner of the house. The limbs were too wide to pass by without hitting the roof. We had to rotate the thousand pound box. At this corner, Olive received her first injury, a broken limb. Not major, Rick sawed off the branch and we continued, carefully. The path along the side of the house was straight and flat so the move forward although slow, went smoothly. We moved carefully across the grass due to the newly installed sod and sprinklers.

Hours later, Olive arrived: a one thousand pound boxed tree poised in front of the 4 foot hole. The weight was far more than we realized. “How would we drop this box into the hole?”  No way would we be able to lift it in. If we allowed it to fall forward, we would not be able to stand it upright.  Finally, I reasoned: if we removed the wood planter, leaned the tree on its back and let her go, quite possibly, the tree would lob into the hole and from the weight of the thrust forward, swing back standing upright. This would work.  One major detail before we could begin. Olive had to be positioned artfully, her limbs arched from the left to the right. Rick and Nikko struggled to rotate the large planter until she was perfectly in place. We removed the planter box wood and went for it! We hadn’t thought about the pendulum effect of the tree swinging the same distance forward. As a result, the tree hit the fence, knocked out a couple of planks but she landed in the hole and upright. The rest was easy. We mounded soil until Olive was surrounded. Our mission completed, Olive, my first ‘tree gift’ poised as the artful anchor of our garden.


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