When I posted about our trip to Japan in search of one of the Hibaku trees (a ginkgo at Hosen-ji, which survived the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima), I was doing some googling and came across the Tree Project started by the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sunairi, who is presently living in Brooklyn. He wrote and shot a film documentary The Tree Project Film about the life of a Hiroshima tree doctor, Dr. Riki Horiguchi, who looks over the Hibaku in the city. Sunairi asked him if he might supply him seeds from these trees to be distributed world-wide. Since 2006, Sunairi has received seeds from Round Leaf Holly, Persimmon, Chinaberry, Firmiana simplex, Japanese Hackberry, Ginkgo, Jujube trees, all of which are Hibaku trees. Of course I sent off an email and a few days ago received two hibaku ginkgo seeds. Today JB and I planted them.
Ginkgo seeds are not easy to sprout. The outer shell is hard and needs to be nicked along its rim (after it has been cold stratified which means at least a month in the refrigerator-Sunairi had already cold-stratified our seeds). We sterilized sand by putting it in a 180 degree oven for half an hour. We put sand in two ziplocks and stuck each one inside a small yogurt container, wet the sand, and placed the nicked seeds in the wet sand with just the top of the seed poking out. Zipping the top of the bags made small terrariums that we will now watch vigilantly for any green.
The two seeds are now sitting by our sink. Their sprouting will reaffirm hope for peace, tolerance, and compassion.
If you are interested in getting seeds you can email the artist Hiroshi Sunairi at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can visit the web site where people around the world have posted the status of their trees.