OK, it was a seedling. I'm still kind of sorry (but kind of not). To the city of Des Moines, I'm sorry! Sort of.
We decided to take the kids to the park. As usual, Oliver got distracted picking up acorn caps and "planting" them. Andrew dubbed him "Johnny Acorn" (like "Johnny Appleseed," get it? Ha).
Oliver does this kind of thing all the time. At home, he planted an acorn cap and watered it every single day. I didn't have the heart to tell him an acorn cap can't grow, so I ordered a little sapling from Ebay. It was like $3 but shipping was like $9. It took over a week to arrive and was delivered in sorry shape. All the leaves but four fell off in the mail. I soaked the roots in a bowl of water for a bit to try to keep it alive, and then I planted it. After that, I told Oliver to come outside to see his tree that grew! He helped mulch it and water it. He has been so excited and has watered it every day. It lost two more leaves right away, and the last two leaves fell off yesterday. Unless I see some new buds soon, I think we can write it off as dead :(
Anyway, back to the park! We spent part of the afternoon playing at Witmer Park yesterday. It was a gorgeous day, 75 degrees in the afternoon and a bit breezy.
Oliver played a bit and then got busy in nature. He found bark from what I think is a London plane tree. The trees at this park are beautiful! Here he is sharing some bark with Andrew:
...and then he started planting more acorn pieces, telling me where different trees were going to grow. He just planted and planted and planted!
A whole acorn! He saved that one "for Eli" (his neighbor friend):
When he was planting, I got a closer look at some of the weeds growing at the edge of the playground. They sure look like little oak seedlings, don't they?
With all of those oak trees around, what else could they be?
So, I pulled one out of the sand.
I brought it home, and I planted it. Who needs a $12 dead oak seedling from Ebay when you can pull one out of the sand at the park? Jackpot!
...and that's the story of our new oak tree. On the one hand, it was growing in the sand in a playground and wasn't going to survive or mature. On the other hand, I feel a little guilty because I know it wasn't ours for the taking. Still, it looks pretty nice in the yard, doesn't it?
Here's the one we got in the mail. Not looking so good...
And here is one of our volunteer maple seedlings! Most of the weeds at our house have been maple seedlings. I just keep pulling them out by the dozens, but I decided to let this one stay. I'm hoping either it or the oak seedling I just planted will survive the winter, but we'll see!
Edit: ...and I've just been informed that it's a weed. Darn, I was so excited, too. I guess I should get outside and pull it.