American Trees

Juglans nigra - Black Walnut tree; Arnold Arboretum

This must be the season for trees here at Gardening Gone Wild.

Rake in the fall leaf foliage, tupelo tree (Nyssa sylvatica) in California garden

Rake in the fall leaf foliage, tupelo tree (Nyssa sylvatica) in California garden

Some of you may still be raking up leaves (and composting on site, right?), like I do with my Tupelo leaves – my most dependable tree for fall colors.  Nyssa sylvatica is native to the East Coast but is a great garden tree almost anywhere that gets 25 inches of rain.

In Fran’s wonderful article The Truth About Trees a few week ago she showed how trees depend on each other and I wrote How To Photograph Trees after my visit to Arnold Arboretum.

Juglans nigra - Black Walnut tree; Arnold Arboretum

Juglans nigra – Black Walnut tree; Arnold Arboretum

I just prepared a photo gallery of American Trees, growing in gardens, native to North America, for an editor recently, and in doing so found myself astonished at the variety even in my own small collection.  I was reminded in our vast country how different trees are, each adapting to its own ecosytem.

Mature trees indicate a sustainable habitat almost by definition, so please gardeners, if you have any space at all, plant a tree.  So very many other plants, animals, and insects depend of native trees that we can genuinely help heal the earth by planting them.  Read Doug Tallamys’ Bringing Nature Home to remind yourself of the importance of American Trees.

Plant a big tree if you can.  Plant a small tree too.

Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) flowering by pathway to woodland garden of Liriodendron tulipifera -Tulip tree with white flowering dogwoods in spring at Mount Cuba Center

Redbud and Dogwood tree flowering under Tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera – at Mount Cuba Center

Tree planting is always a utopian enterprise, it seems to me, a wager on a future the planter doesn’t necessarily expect to witness.” – Michael Pollan

Let’s see what other writers have said about trees.

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

California native trees left to right - Juniperus grandis - Sierran Juniper; Quercus kelloggii (Black Oak); Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen); (Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) at East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Berkeley.

California native trees in winter garden, left to right – Sierran Juniper; Black Oak, Quaking Aspen, and California Fan Palm

“The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.”  George Orwell

So, then.  Plant a tree for somebody else, for the next generation, for future habitats.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in”. Greek Proverb

But in truth trees grow quickly in their native habitats.  You will enjoy the shade of your own tree if you plant one native to your region – soon.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now” – Chinese proverb

Gleditsia triacanthos 'Imperial', Honeylocust Tree; Arnold Arboretum

Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Imperial’, Honeylocust Tree; Arnold Arboretum

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” – Kahlil Gibran

“The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Liriodendron tulipifera -Tulip tree, Tulip poplar, Budding with spring leaves emerging at Mount Cuba Center

Liriodendron tulipifera -Tulip tree, Tulip poplar, Budding with spring leaves emerging at Mount Cuba Center

“The trees, though not fully clothed, were in that delightful state when farther beauty is known to be at hand, and when, while much is actually given to the sight, more yet remains for the imagination.” – Jane Austen

“The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Joshua Tree succulents, Yucca Palm (Yucca brevifolia), Walker Pass Road, Mojave Desert in Southern California

Joshua Trees, Yucca Palm (Yucca brevifolia), Mojave Desert in Southern California

“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it” – John Muir

Oak trees (Quercus agrifolia) in California native plant garden around modern home on hill in evening light, Santa Barbara,

Oak trees (Quercus agrifolia) in California native plant garden in evening light, Santa Barbara.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way.” ~ William Blake

Chilopsis linearis - Desert Willow, Californa native tree in morning light at Leaning Pine Arboretum, California

Chilopsis linearis – Desert Willow, Californa native tree, morning light at Leaning Pine Arboretum

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Parkinsonia aculeata (Mexican Palo Verde) yellow flowering drought tolerant tree, Los Angeles Natural History Museum

Parkinson aculeate, Mexican Palo Verde Tree, Los Angeles Natural History Museum

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” – Franklin Roosevelt

New England woodland in autumn

New England forest along Appalachian Trail in autumn

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” –  John Muir

Now – go hug a tree; then plan to plant one.

 

 

 

from Gardening Gone Wild http://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=30844

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