Locust trees have a mixed reputation. They are considered invasive in some parts of the country, depending on the cultivar. I remember when I was looking for a New Mexico locust at a now defunct nursery in Albuquerque, a patron remarked that locusts were throwaway trees where he was from. New Mexico locusts have a light pink - almost a peach color robe. I would see them in stands at the dog park. Alas, my attempt to plant one failed. So I settled for second best, a purple robe locust. It was more of a "like to have" than a "must have" and remained an inchoate thought planted in the back of my mind for four or more years.
Two years ago, I popped into K-Mart while running errands one Saturday. It's a place where I find unexpected botanical treasures. There wasn't anything remarkable about the perennials, but the trees were 75% off. The 20 gallon purple robe locust was roughly $15. It was a bargain I couldn't pass up. However, I drive a station wagon and was at loss about how to get it home. I bought it anyway.
I couldn't put it in a cart so two store employees helped me to get it to the cashier then load it in my car. Did I mention that I drive a station wagon? Fortunately, the back seat is collapsible and so is the front passenger seat. One of the employees pushed it as far as possible on the passenger side front seat. I tied it up with some rope. However, the tree protruded a few feet from the back of my car. I wasn't sure about the how secure it was and the hatchback wouldn't close.
I live seven minutes from the store so I took a deep breath and pulled away from the curb. I drove with one hand and held onto to the tree for dear life with the other. Every time I looked at the rear mirror I noticed that the other drivers kept their distance. I didn't wonder why. I made it home and backed into my driveway and was uncertain about how to get the tree into the back yard.
But I needed to do something because the hatch was sitting open. I was too embarrassed to call any of my friends who are stronger than me so I went and fetched the wheelbarrow. After some maneuvering, I managed to push the tree to the collapsed back seat and pull it into the wheelbarrow. I no longer regard my purple robe locust as second best.
Seriously, this was my one and only time I've driven with one hand. I pull over to use my cell phone or let it ring.
Not a great photo, but you can see the tree in its environment. The wind has been blustery and not conducive to photography or to black landscape staying in place.