November 3, 2009

The Giving of Trees

Ever pause to think about the role trees play in our lives? That a life without trees would be unsustainable?

As we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, they do just the opposite providing life's breath 

One of my favorite childhood books was 'The Giving Tree', a tale about a relationship between a boy and a tree. The tree always provides; branches to swing on, shade to sit, apples to eat, branches to build a home. As the tree and boy grow, the boy requires more of the tree and loving the boy ,the tree gives anything asked of him. In the ultimate act of self-sacrifice the tree allows the boy to cut him down to a stump and sail away with it's wood.
Years later the boy returns, now an old man. The tree says, "I have nothing left to give you." The man replies, "I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest." The tree was happy to once again be needed .

I want to weep every time i read this............what is wrong with me?!

'The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.'
     Chinese Proverb

And now IS the best time to plant a tree. It is an act of faith for the future.

  Come with me............ come with me and think about our life with trees.

We all know this story, the temptation of the fruit

And when you think about it, food is one of the aspects of trees we do not give second thoughts to; fruit, nuts, mushrooms and maple syrup to name a few.

                       QUICK RECIPE

Impress your family and guests with your inner-genius. Put maple syrup in a saucepan, add fresh cranberries. On low heat simmer and stir until half the cranberries have popped. Serve in a small crystal bowl with ladle; delicious and a beautiful presentation.

  Who has not enjoyed the summer shade relief of a tree? Placed near your home they provide a cooling relief in summer and as a windbreak during storms.

'The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit'
                            Nelson Henderson

They support life in many forms; shelter, hiding places, safety,  food, launching pad for first flights............

 and wee folks

   They support us and our imaginations.................


 Lovingly support snowfall

 Become the focal point of our traditions 

Provide the stage for romance

 Take us away...........

                                              image;  country living
Protect us

                       But, did you know they have secret lives.......when we are not looking?

They complain! Maybe about us!

They even dance!


God gave us trees man can use, but we must also nurture. Do your part, protect our trees and plant more for the future.

                         'Trees are your best antiques'........Alexander Smith

                  The '5th' Elements
             My five favorite trees...........for zone 5 and others.

The majestic Oak.   
  • A tree for the future
  • A myth that they are very slow growing
  • A necessary food source, think acorns
  • Beautiful Autumn color........and if young, maintains it's leaves for most of the winter

Malus 'Maypole', a crab apple
  • a very columnar tree, approx. 3'wide and 18-20' high
  • if you have been to the shop they are on the west side forming an allee
  • gorgeous extra large pink spring flowers
  • huge smooth and clean leaves, a mosaic of autumn colors; apricot, orange, burgundy
  • fruit; either small and ornamental or as in the photo above, large and delicious
  • edible fruit bearing variety does not require spraying
Note:  Nurserymen, please grow this tree, very hard to find. Why with all these attributes?

 Pyrus (Pear) 'salicfolia' pendula

  • The delicate willow-like silver foliage. Any silver plant will act as a spotlight in the garden enhancing it's neighbors.
  • Personally like to mix up foliage colors, unless very formal, an all green garden can be boring
  • I keep these pruned to a small stature. Pruning is another post.....all trees can be manipulated to maintain a desired shape
  • White spring flowers, on the small side. Autumn fruit is a golden mocha color, shaped like mini pears

    Cercis (Red bud) 'Forest Pansy'
  •  Speaking of color! What a wow in the borders.......they create focal points. Imagine the above scene without the pop of color,your eye would wander.
  • Prefers some shade and a protected nook from west winter winds
  • Again......notice a pattern here..........large leaves.Large leaves lend order. Take note in the above photo, the understory is slightly messy in appearance, the interjection of a large leaf organizes this vignette
  • A mid sized tree

Weeping 'Katsura', Cercidiphyllum 'Pendula'

  • The form! How beautiful is this, lending a graceful shape to the garden. For a formal setting the branches can be pruned in a straight horizontal line, revealing the trunk.........gorgeous!
  • In the spring the foliage emerges apricot by summer it is a green-blue, apricot returns for an Autumn showing.
  • This is a large tree attaining a stature of 20x20......and what else.....large leaves!
Note: what additionally makes this photo appealing is contrasting foliage colors and shapes; weeping, upright and horizontal.

  • Love the structure, very European
  • Quick history.......In Europe villagers with limited space developed this form for fruit bearing specimens. When a fruit tree is planted against a wall, south is best, and when heavily pruned, the tree is stressed. Fruit bearing trees, ornamental or edible varieties, produce a heavy load of  flowers followed by fruit under duress. Survivability? High!
  • There are many espalier (pronounced;  's   paal  yeah') shapes and species with seasonal variety
  • Have a sunny blank wall? Consider this. I have even used the pre-formed mature specimens out in the open (no wall) to great effect.........once enclosing an intimate garden.

Thanks for reading!

Where would we be without it's wood? Look around you, it permeates our life; homes, floors, trim, furniture,  firewood, paper.........

Being in the landscape industry I love the opportunity to add trees; where?, which variety?.........but pains me to be the decision maker to say "no, it has to go."


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