When I moved to the Glen Ellyn area over 40 years ago, my husband and I were delighted to discover the Morton Arboretum. It was nearby and a great place for hiking. We valued and enjoyed the outdoors so we became members right away. An added feature was the offerings of children's classes. In one class, our daughter found owl pellets under the pine trees on the northwest side. She was excited to show us exactly where the trees were and which tree the pellets were under.
Over 30 years ago I took an adult class at the Arboretum about trees. The class was helpful for my home landscaping and for my stint as a Nature Leader for Girl Scouts. I learned about the variety of trees growing at the Arboretum and which trees would grow well in this area. At the end of the tree class, each member was given two small saplings. I chose the ginkgo trees because they were uncommon. I planted the saplings in two separate flower pots and brought them into the garage for the first winter. In the spring I planted both of them outside in the ground. One of them died, but the other grew nicely.
Today I am happy to report that in our backyard we have a ginkgo tree that is approximately 20 feet tall. It did not produce fruit for many years so I didn't know if we had a male or a female tree. About ten years ago the fruit appeared. Yes, the fruit can get a little smelly, but it does not bother us. Squirrels climb up the tree and enjoy nibbling on the seeds inside the fruit. The tree's golden leaves during the fall are breathtaking.
Ginkgos are special trees, and recently a few have been planted in the parkway of our subdivision. Those are small, but the tree in my backyard is tall and beautiful. It is my favorite tree!