On a couple of frosty, muddy mornings in March and early April the first rows of trees planted in the Bluecircle were Douglas fir and Norway spruce seedlings from Burgess Seed Co. and the Berrien County Conservation District. The summer was relatively wet, and both trees and the abundant weeds prospered. Even with mowing and some cultivation it has been hard to see the trees for the ragweed, red clover, thistle and even poison ivy, but with the first snow the survivors are now visible alongside their marker flags. Overall about 85% of the 160 seedlings made it through their first growth season, which was better than I expected. A lessons-learned note about poison ivy in the Spring – bared-handed planting in March is to be avoided even when your gloves are wet unless you don’t mind following up with 2 weeks of treatment for the ivy rash! A tree spade works just as well and doesn’t mind the cold.