Weekly Feature

Speaking of Trees

Because of the influence of those willows, I have divided my larger garden into smaller enclosed spaces with all of its resting places under the shelter of a tree. Was I lucky and just happened to find a house with a yard full of big old trees or was I unable to feel at home anywhere else?

There are a lot of available statistics about the environmental and financial value of trees in our communities but to gardeners there’s more to it than that just as interesting bone structure give character and sometime beauty to a face well into old age. so it is with trees and gardens. Annuals bloom all season long, perennials fill space quickly, shrubs give winter presence, but trees alone give scale. They are the link that relates a garden to its surroundings. The huge conifers in the park next door would loom maybe even dominate my garden were it not for our birch grove, the crabapples, the redbud, holly and clerondendron in their company the conifers simply add dimension a beautiful borrowed backdrop for my garden.

One of my life lessons is to approach anything bigger than me thoughtfully that worked on the playground and it works in the garden. I think long and hard before I plant a tree. I want us both to be happy. Some of the most desirable and valuable trees are slow growers they test my patience and the trees that provide quick shade or screening tend to be short-lived and weak. I am working on balancing that in my garden.. planting not only for today but for tomorrow as well.but it is easy to justify planting a hedge row of leyland cypress.my neighbors can look right in my dining room window.and its not that my compost bins don’t have a certain charm I would just rather not have them be a focal point in my garden. That cypress screen will most certainly enhance my enjoyment of my garden, but it offers nothing forward it will not contribute to the long term tree canopy of my community. Cypress will spend their youthful energy growing tall fast and die young. Three years ago I planted a little dogwood, a Cornus alternifolia  Argentea in a place of honor in my garden, I will not live long enough to see it grow into a beautiful tree, but my grandchildren will that cornus is a gift to the future from me. I hope someday someone will say, What a perfect spot for a perfect tree!.in my imagination they may even see it as a stroke of genius. Someone asked Martin Luther what to do on their last day on earth he said plant a tree. sounds like a good idea to me.

Dee Dixon writes and produces stories for Smart Gardening.