I love the more unusual reasons customers drop into the store. This time of year of course, my personal fave is when they feel the need to bestow treats!
But it’s the curiosities we see that are so fascinating. Sure, that includes plenty of diseased and insect-ridden plants. But sometimes folks just want to show us interesting stuff.
Last weekend a customer was in to display a collection of bur oak acorns. Having gathered quite a few, he handed them out freely and happily explained how we should propagate our little bur oaks (Quercus macrocarpa).
You may have noticed that there has been a bumper crop of acorns this year. But have you ever seen a bur oak acorn? The largest of all oak acorns, the bur oak acorn is unbelievably beautiful and nearly the size of a ping pong ball.
Educating us all, our friend explained that here in middle Tennessee, we are at the southern tip of the range for bur oak — how interesting! I happened to know that bur oak is the Iowa state tree, so I figured it might not be native in our area. However, our customer has identified a number of beautiful specimens here, especially along Hillsboro Road.
Bur oak gets big. Michael Dirr reports a specimen in Illinois over 90′ tall and estimated to be about 300 years old.
I’ll be doing my part! Into the fridge with some moist peat moss my big acorn will go. If for no other reason than to acknowledge our customer’s fine observant eye and all things curious.