Mrs. Daylily's daughter will be getting married in her backyard next summer. Mrs. Daylily thinks, "I must block the view of my neighbor's ugly above ground swimming pool." She drives to the nursery and says to Mr. Spade, the salesperson, "I need a tree that grows extremely fast. I'm in hurry."
"Extremely fast, you say?" Mr. Spade replies. "How about any of these: Poplar, Willow, Tree of Heaven, Silver Maple, Mulberry, Honey Locust, Black Walnut."
"I hate those trees! Why would you even suggest them?" Mrs. Daylily retorts.
"Ma'am, I'm confused, you asked for "extremely fast" growing trees."
"OK, what's the fastest growing tree you have that's not messy."
"You know, trees that have seeds, or nuts, or berries or any fruit that falls on my driveway or attracts birds. Oh, and trees that drop a lot of twigs and branches or too many leaves during the summer, none of that."
"Yes, bugs. Some trees attract bugs, anything that crawls or flies. I can't deal with bugs in my trees."
"I see," says Mr. Spade, wishing he could help, but his hands are tied. "Perhaps you have come to the wrong store?
Mrs. Daylily, glancing over her shoulder, says, "You do sell trees here, right?"
"How about that one? How fast does it grow?" Mrs. Daylily points to a handsome white oak.
"Maybe 12" or less per year, after it's been in the ground for about three years."
"Forget it. Tell me about that one over there."
"Sugar maple? Beautiful tree. Grows maybe 13" - 24" inches per year once it gets going."
"Meh," Mrs. Daylily shrugs. "Can't we do better?"
"How about white pine, our native state tree. Can put on 25" in a good season."
"Bingo! That's what I'm talking about! I'll plant it right on the property line."
"Oh. Are there utility lines overhead?"
"Yes but white pines won't grow that tall, right?"
"Wrong. In less than ten years the power company will come by and cut down your tree."
"They can't do that! It's my property!"
"They have legal domain."
"I'll sue them."
"You'll lose. Many before you have tried. All have failed. It's a matter of public safety."
"Fine. Now what do you suggest?"
"How about some nice shrubs?"
"Oh I don't have time for all that work."
"Trimming, shaping, you know."
"Ma'am, shrubs are very low maintenance, unless you're shaping them into elephants and ballerinas."
"But my neighbor has yews and she's out there all summer with her hedge clippers. She said they'll grow out of control if she doesn't clip them once a month."
"It's not as if her yews are going to grow through her bedroom window and strangle her while she sleeps. She could do a light pruning every few years or none at all if she chooses."
"Oh. Well I do rather like those arbor-vy-tee-AHS."
"You mean arborVYTEES? Also known as Thuja."
"Those. How fast do they grow?"
"We have a very nice cultivar of Thuja occidentalis called 'Smaragd'. It grows about 6" to 9" per year, and not more than 15' tall. Think of it as a small tree if you like."
Mrs. Daylily sighs. "I suppose I can live with that. I'll take three."
"Very good, ma'am, I'm glad you've made a decision."
Mr. Spade assists Mrs. Daylily in selecting three healthy specimens. They load them into wagons and wheel them to the cashier.
"Thank you so much for your help, Mr. Spade," Mrs. Daylily says.
"You're welcome," replies Mr. Spade.
"I do have one more question."
"What time of year does this little tree flower?"
Mr. Spade gives Mrs. Daylily a curious look. "When did you say your daughter's wedding is?"
"Next June 25th."
"Then I'm sure your trees will begin blooming on June 24th."
"Perfect," Mrs. Daylily replies. "And will the flowers be pink? My daughter's having a pink wedding, you see."
"Oh, the most beautiful shade of pink, like nothing you've ever seen."
"And the smell? Sweet but not too sweet I hope. I get a headache otherwise."
"The odor is a delicate balance of light vanilla and lemon. Just the right scent to the most delicate of noses."
"This is wonderful," Mrs. Daylily says, grinning from ear to ear. "It's almost as if I've invented the perfect tree."
"Yes," Mr. Spade says before returning to his work, "It's exactly like that."