Trees. I’ve always loved them. Shrubs, too (little trees!) I wasn’t a tree climber, I never had a tree house, but I did take special notice of trees – their often majestic grandeur, their shiny and intricate leaves, the wonderful shade they provide, the wide array of flowers and fruit they bear. I remember the huge chestnut tree in the neighbor’s yard when I was a kid and the minefield of chestnuts that would litter the ground beneath. I would pick them up and save the best ones, admiring their hard, shiny surface and deep brown color. Another neighbor had a gorgeous pink azalea that made such an impression on me that to this day, when I see a similar one, I am reminded of my childhood. In our yard we had a flowering white dogwood, fragrant purple lilacs, a bright yellow forsythia and a red Japanese maple.
Trees just stand there, gracefully, unobtrusively, year after year, asking little and giving much. They’re kind of introverted, trees are. I respect them. When I visit a far away place, the unfamiliar trees are one of the first things I notice. I love planting trees and watching them grow and change with the seasons. Trees are one of the things I love most about spring, savoring the fireworks of white pears and pink cherries and stunning magnolias that sport both colors in abundance. There are specific trees in the area that I admire and remember and try to visit during their bloom. In the fall, the color explosion is totally different yet equally awe-inspiring. And lets face it, isn’t one of the dreariest things about winter the fact that the trees are bare? Wouldn’t winter be more pleasant if they weren’t? Thank goodness for evergreens, silent and graceful when covered in snow. Is there anything more magical than a forest?
I’ve been busy planting trees and shrubs in my yard this summer, something I’ve done at every house I’ve lived in (too bad I keep moving and leaving them behind!). This time around I chose a weeping cherry, a Blue Angel holly, royalty and Mother’s Day azaleas, a Blue Star juniper, a burning bush, a Japanese andromeda, and assorted roses. I also have two existing white birch trees framing the yard that are mature and gorgeous, a weeping mulberry that I’ve trimmed into an umbrella shape, a large, graceful Japanese maple, and a wide assortment of flowers that were already here and have surprised me all summer long. Many butterflies, hummingbirds, cardinals, finches, and squirrels come to visit – two of them practically jumped into my lap as I sat on the side porch the other morning. A number of them chase each other around the yard and seem to enjoy it as much as I do. To them, it’s a storeyard for nuts, but to me, it’s paradise.