Our old neighbors back in Wauwatosa gave us a little Nanking cherry tree seedling (Prunus Tomentosa) a year after we moved out to Pewaukee. I dutifully planted it back in our tree line and tended to it for the first few years, only to see it mown over by the subdivision groundskeepers. Heartbroken, I nursed the little stalk - which still had a few leaves - back to life, and put a small barrier of chicken wire around it. Surely that would deter the mowers. Nope! The next year we found the wire bent and twisted in the tree line and the little tree was completely gone! We sadly admitted defeat and soon forgot about it.
Last summer while cleaning out some brush in the tree line, I noticed a small bush near the edge that was overgrown with tall grass. A closer peak revealed that it was covered in tiny cherries. The Nanking had survived after all! Apparently over the past few years, the mowers had changed their boundaries just enough for the little tree to come back to life, yet still be hidden by other wild plants. We cleared it out a bit and put another, larger protection barrier around the slim trunk, and this year it's flowering beautifully. Can hardly wait for the cherries of summer!