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Our Charlie, The Miracle Tree

Krohn Conservatory Holiday Show Tree "Charlie" when it was a sapling and then on display.

Our Charlie, The Miracle Tree

Have you had a chance to meet Charlie? Charlie is the evergreen tree that greets you as you walk into Krohn Conservatory during the holiday season. Standing at a height of 18 feet, Charlie is a focal point of Krohn’s holiday show. But this mighty tree wasn’t always so spectacular. In fact, Charlie almost didn’t make it to be the tree that we know today.

During the Krohn holiday season, dozens of 8-inch trees are brought in to fill the gaps in the display. These trees are later sold after the show ends in January. Thirty years ago while a sapling Charlie acquired an infection, however, and began to turn yellow. As a result, it remained the only tree unpurchased as the sale ended. Charlie was at risk of being discarded until Mary Hendrix, a former florist at Cincinnati Parks, decided to try and save the sickly tree.

“Mary asked what was going to happen with the little tree” says Mark House, Assistant Manager at Krohn Conservatory. “I told her that nobody wants it, so we may just put it into the compost pile. She said, ‘Oh no, I’ll take it home and rescue it.”

Mary planted the small tree in her front yard and routinely watered it every week, combining the routine with positive words of affirmation. Still, the sickly tree took a while to recover from its illness. “It was a very slow recovery.” House stated. “In fact, the tulips planted next to the tree were taller [than the tree] for the first 5 years!” Eventually, the evergreen bounced back, and grew so large that it became too big for Mary’s yard. But instead of simply chopping down & discarding the tree, Mary decided to donate the tree back to Krohn Conservatory for the holiday festivities, complete with its new name Charlie.

These days, Charlie has become a fan favorite, sporting dozens of unique ornaments and captivating visitors with its beauty. It’s story of persistence, however, is something that Mark thinks is just as beautiful. “It just goes to show, that with a little love and care, anything can become beautiful.”

Come meet Charlie during Krohn Conservatory’s A Zinzinnati Holiday, running today – January 5, 2020.