I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mount is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
–Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
We have, over the past two or three years, had the privilege of visiting many of our National Parks and some other worthy sites in our vast and beautiful country. I’m not a loco-tree-hugger, but I have become a huge fan and I appreciate the necessity of keeping as many as proves to be healthy for them.
This is my holiday blog. It is not about Christmas trees, as beautiful as they are, but a note to honor the creator of these magnificent living partners in His world.
I begin with my most recent trip to visit Pearl Fryar. Topiary Artist. In Bishopville, SC Mr. Fryar has spent his life creating this garden from a corn field. It was featured once on CBS Sunday Morning and I was spellbound. I never dreamed I would see it, let alone meet the sculptor. He is ageing, but still the strongest and most agile person I have met older than me. He has started to hire help and has started a foundation to carry on his work. www.gardenconservancy.org
ODD TREES: A few odd ones we move to next: a work of art called a singing tree, a tree with wonderfully shaped root system, a frozen tree archway and a shoe tree we saw in Montana. I have no idea what the purpose of the shoes in the tree were. I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a picture of a tree with such unusual fruit.
SEQUOIA: These majestic giants are native to our west coast. A few have been moved to other continents during the Victorian era, before the environmental protection laws were written. These laws are meant to save other trees from un-native insect pests. A good Idea. Sweet Husband is standing in front of one exported to Scotland over a hundred years ago. It is still quite young. These trees live to over 2,000 years making them the oldest organism on our planet. Pictures cannot capture their grandeur.
Banyan Tree: These trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks, which can become indistinguishable from the main trunk with age. Old trees can spread out laterally, using these prop roots to cover a wide area. In some species, the effect is for the props to develop into a sort of forest covering a considerable area, every trunk connected directly or indirectly to the central trunk. The topology of this structure of interconnection inspired the name of the hierarchical computer network operating system Banyan Vines.
This photo was taken at Edison’s summer home in Florida. It covers an acre of ground.
REDWOOD: Superlatives abound when a person tries to describe old-growth redwoods: immense, ancient, stately, mysterious, powerful. Yet the trees were not designed for easy assimilation into language. Their existence speaks for themselves, not in words, but rather in a soft-toned voice of patience and endurance. I can only express my reaction in tears of gratitude to my wonderful creator.
Exactly why the redwoods grow so tall is a mystery. Theories continue to develop but proof remains elusive. The trees can reach ages of 2,000 years and regularly reach 600 years.
Resistance to natural enemies such as insects and fire are built-in features of a coast redwood. Diseases are virtually unknown and insect damage insignificant thanks to the high tannin content of the wood. Thick bark and foliage that rests high above the ground provides protection from all but the hottest fires
Monterey Cedar: These are medium-sized coniferous evergreen tree, which often becomes irregular and flat-topped as a result of the strong winds that are typical of its native area along the pacific coast of California. It grows to heights of up to 40 meters (133 feet) in perfect growing conditions, and its trunk diameter can reach 2.5 meters (over 8 feet). The foliage grows in dense sprays which are bright green in color and release a deep lemony aroma when crushed. I fell in love with their wind-shaped beauty
Live Oaks: As a resident of the deep south, all of my life, these magnificent trees never fail to make my heart stop each time I see one. They do not become lovely until they are at least 100 years old. The trees below are 300 to 500 years old. They lose their leaves in the spring when the new leaves push out last years leaves. Therefore they are evergreen and probably why they gained the name LIVE.