i went to belmont to help my father plant 4 new trees in the backyard. when i arrived, i was horrified that he had pruned our long-growing lavender shrub down to the stumps. at the very least the leaves can be saved, as i reclaimed all the branches from the trash. he said he did this because 1) there were too much dead branches that needed to be cut, and 2) we were thinking about moving the lavender to a spot underneath the grapevines next to the recently relocated sage.

my father had already dug holes for the sourwood and the large potted kwanzan flowering cherry we bought yesterday from home depot. planting bareroot trees is a leap of faith, as often times the "tree" looks nothing more than a single long branch with some roots at the bottom. at least the sourwood had some additional branches so it looked more tree-like, but they looked dried and dead. we mixed compost with the dirt and sprinkled the special rooting formula fertilizer onto the wet roots and poured the rest into the hole. we dressed the area around the tree with a thick layer of compost mulch, making sure it wasn't up against the trunk.

next we then planted the flowering cherry. ideally the entire pot should be soaked in water, but we didn't have a big enough container to hold it. so my father sit it in a tub and watered for a while, hoping to saturate as much as the root as possible. unable to simply pull it from the plastic pot, we cut the pot instead to free the root ball. i read from the nature hills nursery planting directions to cut an inch off the bottom of the roots, which supposedly promotes growth. instead of the nature hills fertilizer, we used plant-tone instead, sprinkling a few scoops into the hole.

my father had also dug a third hole between the hostas for the barefoot kwanzan flowering cherry. it just needed to be expanded and moved further inwards. apparently when it comes to planting trees (and maybe the case for all transplants), it's not a matter of how deep the hole is, but rather how wide, since the roots will grow outwards. as i worked to expand the hole, my father was working on the 4th hole, located at the spot where our wire mesh compost bin used to be, between the pussy willow and the hawthorn. he worked at it with a cutting hoe, because there were a lot of tree roots and remnant bamboo rhizomes. as for the bareroots themselves, they look like they were either ground or air layered, that's why the main trunks look like they keep on growing beyond the roots themselves.

once the holes were finished, we planted the trees, the flowering cherry followed by the redbud. even though neither of them had branches, the cherry at least had some height and there were buds forming on the trunk. the redbud looked nothing more than a thin branch with roots. although it was a humid and cloudy day (possible thunderstorms later in the afternoon), there were occasional breaks of sun so intense it hurt when it shined directly onto my skin.

we finally made it to downtown crossing, where we went inside macy's so my mother could use the bathroom. even then it took a while to find, and we finally had to ask someone. my mother didn't come to shop at macy's, there was another store she wanted to go to, but couldn't remember the name. we got back out onto the street so she could look for this store. it turned out to be primark, which i've heard about but never visited before. i remembered it to be a european clothing store. what i wasn't expecting was how big it was inside, 3 levels of shopping, in a glitzy modern interior, in the former filene's building though you couldn't recognize it from the inside. my sister's godmother introduced my mother to the place; she herself found out about it on her own one day while exploring downtown crossing. one thing i didn't know was everything they sell is their own brand, kind of like an old navy, except bigger. primark is trying to gain entry into the lucrative american department store game, and the boston store is one of their first, opened in 2015. business seemed good as there were a lot of shoppers. besides the huge selection, the prices were also dirt cheap, to the point where it becomes irresistible to buy. the customers tend to skew young, but there were the occasional older shoppers, and some that looked to be tourists. i didn't get anything while my mother picked up a few shirts.

we finally headed home, taking the red line to harvard square. we got to the station with a 73 bus due to arrival within minutes, so we didn't have to call my father to come pick us up. by the time we got to belmont, it began to sprinkle a bit. my mother took out her umbrella while i decided to brave the rain.