When I planted the tree in my side yard at Roosevelt and State in 1995, it was a milestone. OK, I didn't really plant it--it was planted by two friends of mine who lived many houses down who thought I could use some trees. It was small, weak-looking and kind of cute. I wish I could find a picture of it; I'm sure I took some.
It was from Home Depot. And it was a flowering crabapple. That's what the little card said. I agreed to one tree, in addition to the Linden I already had in the front yard. And that was it.
After it was in a few months, it sprouted some sort of bug that began living and thriving all over the leaves. But I could actually soap the leaves down in a few minutes to rid the tree of them, standing right on the grass. It was that small and manageable. The bugs never came back.
The tree, now huge, flowers in the Spring--but it's always too cold during that beautiful flowering period to sit outside and enjoy the sweet-smelling flowers. The flowers are so packed in--and so plentiful, that it almost makes me nervous.
In any case, late this summer the tree started doing something very odd. It started growing full sized green apples. I had been seeing gnawed green apples under it for weeks and couldn't figure out what was happening. Were squirrels or rabbits or raccoons or rats or coyotes or something else bringing apples from somewhere and munching on them under the tree?
And then a week or so ago, I looked up and couldn't believe it. The apples were falling--Sir Isaac Newton-style--from the tree, onto the grass and providing a snack for one of the aforementioned.
I can't say I understand what happened, how the tree became a sudden full-fledged apple tree. But it's a fact. An apple tree grows at Roosevelt and State in the City of Chicago. And it's mine.