Holm Oak (Quercus Ilex)

Holm Oak (Quercus Ilex)
Holm Oak (Quercus Ilex)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Busy November

Veterans Day parades and programs, hosting my literary group, moderating a book club...leaves me posting a link from another #Tree Tuesday participant...I hope that my readers enjoy it as much as I did.

"Into the Color" by fine art landscape photographer, Jeff Mitchum

On the road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii, there is an amazing stand of Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Deglupta), entertaining with dazzling displays of color. Also known as Rainbow Gum, these amazing trees give a distinctive design separate from the natural world landscapes. As the underlying darker green bark sheds, reds and yellows reveal themselves.

My decision was to focus primarily on the macro parts of the tree. My desire was to bring alive through some macro work the delicate textures of these trees and flood the view finder with potent colors -- giving the viewer a sensory experience of liquid color.
The fresh falling rain deepened the already vibrant colors, and I began my journey. A series of images that I would later decide could be both individual images and/or a format of eight 10 x 10’s bringing to life a panoramic piece. 

An easy piece to name, hope you enjoy "Into The Color."   Also found at Into the Color on G+

Into the Color
A series of photos of rainbow eucalyptus / rainbow gum bark (Eucalyptus Degluptaby  Jeff Mitchum

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Weekend in Charlottesville, VA

Autumn Hike in Charlottesville - 2014

Courtesy:  Catherine Bramlage Zimmerman

I just returned from a weekend in Charlottesville, VA.  Just slightly further north than Roanoke, VA, but the leaf colors are ahead of Roanoke and much more spectacular.  I had a camera malfunction so didn't get a chance at photos, but here is a link to all kinds of places and drives to view Autumn foliage in Virginia as well as a foliage map. Here is also a link to Dept. of Tourism video showing trees off the Blueridge Parkway as well as central Virginia cities.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Magnificent Ginkgo Tree (Ginkgo biloba) in Aston, PA

#Tree Tuesday

One of my favorite successful and beautiful urban trees is the ancient ginkgo tree. This particular ginkgo is located on the grounds of the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia in Aston, PA and is located near the entrance to the old convent that fronts on Convent Road. This tree can be seen by the road.  It is also a great example of proper planting and maintenance practices.

 Notice that the depth at which this tree is planted is correct and most importantly part of the root flare is correctly left uncovered by soil. Mulch is thinly applied and kept off the root flare and lower portions of the tree. Also, adequate space on either side of the tree is left unplanted and is lightly mulched to provide a "root run."

The canopy of this ginkgo is kept free of dead branches and twigs, and small secondary limbs removed to create a healthy canopy open to light and air movement.

Proper depth of the root flare is important because it is the transition point between roots and trunk.  When it is buried underground it stays moist from the soil and too much mulch and doesn't absorb enough oxygen and throw off carbon dioxide as bark is designed to do.  Soil covering the flare and piled too high on the trunk often hides circling and girdling roots that choke a growing tree - water and nutrients move back and forth throughout a tree in the outer trunk cells that are protected by the bark - and dramatically slow growth. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) - A Great Japanese Tree With a Lot of Potential

The Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is among my favorites #treetuesday features.   it has great potential as an urban tree when planted in locations that serve its needs.  

Its heart-shaped leaves are so very reminiscent of the Cercis (redbud) trees that the genus name for the Katsura is Cercidiphyllum  or Cercis leaves. Japonicum, of course, means of Japan.  

Spring and summer leaves display a blue-green hue.  Autumnal leaves, as the following photos show, turn bronze to yellow.  

Photos are of trees planted in ring around the tree lawn / green belt / hell strip between a church parking lot and the residential street which the church fronts. These trees are located in Roanoke, VA.

Interesting photo showing progression of tree leaf color and senility.  This depends upon where the sun strikes the tree.  More sun means green leaves longer; shade means earlier coloration and ultimate senility and abscission.

Quick reference for whether the tree is a redbud or a katsura is a look at its leaf arrangement along the stem.  Redbud leaves are arranged alternately; those of the katsura are arranged oppositely. 

Here we see a variety of autumn leaf colors ranging from yellow-green to golden yellow to bronze and pink-bronze.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gingko biloba and planting in Century Park Plaza, Roanoke, Virginia

One of my favorite places in downtown Roanoke, VA is the Century Park Plaza between Kirk and Church Streets.  It is planted with columnar ginkgo trees - both male and female -  with wisteria draped over trellises that hide the sides of neighboring buildings.

The Plaza is also home to seven sculptured columns decorated and colored to symbolize the cultures represented by Roanoke's sister cities.  The columns are tucked in among the gingko trees.  Mimi Babe Harris and Donna Essig created the sculptures.  The columns were dedicated in 2004 and are part of Roanoke City's public art collection. 

Entrance to the PLaza from Kirk Avenue 

Entrance from Kirk Avenue  through metal arches

Entrance from Kirk Avenue up brick steps, bypassing

 small fountain heads and through metal arch

Fountains consisting of small heads or jets, metal arches made of metal,

 and containers of summer annuals (coleus) made a great introduction to the 

light green leaves of Ginkgo biloba 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Laburnum anagyroides (common laburnum / golden chain tree) is an early summer feast for the eyes

Laburnums are native to the mountains of southern Europe from France to the Balkan Peninsula.  Members of the pea family, their golden yellow flowers hang in racemes which do look like golden chains.

Don't mix them up with Koelreuteria paniculata, commonly called the golden rain tree, which blooms in mid- to late-June.

Golden chains hang from an underappreciated specimen in Roanoke, Va


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Autumnal Equinox to all Tree Huggers

Kudzu (probably Pueraria lobata) is at the height of its flowering cycle

#treetuesday introduces what is probably one of the most invasive species ever introduced into the Unites States  First introduced as a flowering ornamental at the Philadelphia Continental Exposition in 1876. In the 1930s and '40s, the government rebranded kudzu as a remedy for soil erosion and as cattle feed. 

 In the southern U.S. kudzu is reportedly used to make soapslotions, contribute to compost, and the fiber used to make baskets. 

***All of these photos taken near a street where I live in southwest VA where it rambles over abandoned trees and even over an invasive bamboo.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Aralia spinosa: The Devil's Walking Stick, a dangerous but colorful North American native

The thorns arising from the woody trunks and stems 

give this small tree its name.

Aralia spinosa, aka The Devil's Walking Stick or Hercules Club, is our #treetuesday woody plant of the week.  In the ginseng (Aralia) family it is native to eastern North America. It's been many years since I've seen a stand of them, but found these in a much cutover slope near Charlottesville, Va. 

Small white flowers develop into these showy maroon berries

 in the autumn 

The tri-pinnately compound leaves are another distinguishing 

characteristic of this handsome but straggly tree.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ginkgo biloba: an ancient and beautiful tree

#tree tuesday

Ginkgo biloba, commonly called the gingko  or the maidenhair tree, is an ancient and unique species with no living relatives. Often called a living fossil, the gingko is similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. It is native to China, was introduced early to human history and cultivation. It has various uses in traditional medicine, and its fruit is a source of food in Asian cooking.  The gingko, preferably the male of this dioecious species, makes a handsome and adaptable urban ornamental.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Autumn Leaves

#Tree Tuesday

First Day of Autumn

In 2014, the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on: September 22 at 10:29 P.M. EDT. The days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. Day and night are approximately equal in length. 

Sun peeking through hickory tree leaves around noon.


Gathering up oak and hickory tree leaves using a gasoline-powered blower. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha) a southern American native that's hard to find


 The Franklin tree blooms in the Philadelphia area at the end of July into August.  The yellow mass in the center of the flower consists of numerous stamens (male parts).

 Fertilized flowers, but undeveloped fruit, appear in the top of the photo.
The pistil, female portion, is the stick-like portion protruding from the developing fruit.
 Fully developed, but immature, fruit appear in the center of the photo.

The Franklin tree remains small and open or scraggly in stature.  Its mature height is 10-to 20 feet. 

Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha), the Franklin tree named for Benjamin Franklin, is a native of the southeastern U.S.  Originally found near the Altamaha River valley in Georgia, by John Bartram and his son William, it is now considered extinct in the wild and only known from cultivated trees.  This small tree is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8.  This photographed tree is a youngster and grows in a slightly shaded spot near a college campus in suburban Philadelphia.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Short List of Tree Huggers Favorite Books

Here are some of my favorite #books about trees. Some are very sophisticated; some simple. Some contain a lot of great pictures (almost like a picture book for adults); others feature line drawings. Some are very expensive; some not so much.
I do guarantee that I either own a book on this list or that I’ve borrowed it from my local library or inter-library loan because it’s beyond my budget. I’d like to hear back from you after you’d had a chance to look over this list. Tell me what you liked about the list or how I can make it better. Let me if you feel inspired to examine any of these books.
I’ll be doing one for children at a later date.

  • Maples for Gardens: A Color Encyclopedia. Hardcover – August 1, 1999. C.J. van Gelderen (Author), D.M. van Gelderen (Author). Timber Press, Incorporated. ISBN-10: 0881924725; ISBN-13: 978-0881924725.
  • Trees of New Zealand: Stories of Beauty and Character. Hardcover – January 1, 2011. Peter Janssen  (Author).  Hodder Moa. ISBN-10: 1869712196; ISBN-13: 978-1869712198.
  • Pirone's Tree Maintenance. Hardcover – April 6, 2000. John R. Hartman (Author), Thomas P. Pirone (Author), Mary Ann Sall (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0195119916; ISBN-10: 0195119916. Edition: 7th
  • Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast. Paperback – April 12, 2011. Michael Wojtech  (Author), Tom Wessels (Contributor).  UPNE. ISBN-10: 1584658525; ISBN-13: 978-1584658528.
  • Drawing and Painting Trees (Dover Art Instruction) Paperback – September 25, 2008.  Adrian Hill (Author).  Dover Publications. ISBN-10: 0486468453; ISBN-13: 978-0486468457.
  • Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs Hardcover – October 18, 2011. Michael A. Dirr (Author). Timber Press. ISBN-10: 0881929018; ISBN-13: 978-0881929010.
  • The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth. Hardcover – April 10, 2012. Anita Silvey  (Author).  Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). ISBN-10: 0374309086; ISBN-13: 978-0374309084.  (for adults as well as middle-school students)

  • Hydrangeas for American Gardens. Hardcover – Illustrated, June 15, 2004. Michael A. Dirr  (Author).  Timber Press. ISBN-10: 0881926418; ISBN-13: 978-0881926415. Edition: 1st.
  • A Reunion of Trees: Exotic Plants and Their Introduction into North American and European Landscapes.  Hardcover – December 1, 1990.  Stephen Spongberg (Author), Sam Bass Warner Jr. (Contributor).Harvard University Press. ISBN-10: 0674766938;  ISBN-13: 978-0674766938. Edition: 1st. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Slow Death of a Fine Tree

Tree Tuesday

You are in so much of a hurry with so many things to do that you unknowingly sacrifice the life of a fine ornamental tree by leaving fairy lights in place in-between seasons. 

The result of leaving any kind of band around a tree in-perpetuity is slow death by strangling.  Tree people term this "girdling" and the villain slowly works its way through bark - composed of cork cambium, phloem (food conduction tubes), cambium (cells for lateral growth) and sometimes going into the xylem  (water conduction tubes).  Eventually the part of the tree above the girdle dies.  Eventually the whole tree dies.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Color, Form and Texture Add to Landscape

Spruce, Weeping Willow, Cherries and Bradford Pear

 with a Freshwater Pond in Background

 Contribute to a Serene View

English Ivy and Assorted Evergreen Shrubs 

Provide a Multihued Backdrop.

 A bed of white daffodils with a single yellow one and a pink crabapple in bud draw viewers into this landscape.  Local natural boulders provide comfortable seating placed throughout a singular connected path constructed of earth-toned pea gravel.   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

International Day of Forests

I was asleep at the switch.  International Day of Forests, as set by the United Nations, was several days ago, but we can still celebrate forest today and every day.

The Arbor Day Foundation sums up facts about the importance of forests in the world's makeup in this short and sweet blog review.

Profile of vegetation in tropical rain forest

Profile of vegetation in temperate forest 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Georgene's 30 Day Photo Challenge: 20 March 2014: Detail of Bark of Red Maple Tree

This is what happens when a botanist and photographer decides to take one photo / day.  Many photos of plants and trees, but lots of many other parts of my days.

Georgene's 30 Day Photo Challenge: 20 March 2014: Detail of Bark of Red Maple Tree

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Red Maple Bark Photos Part of "Thirty Day Photo Challenge."

Thirty Day Photo Challenge

Pictures of red maple bark - almost 20-years-old tree - in my front yard.

Three fresh sapsucker holes.
  These woodpecker birds are fun to watch but easily devastate trees by taping the xylem and phloem.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Parking lot in Leesport, Pennsylvania
21 August 2013
Photo by Smallbones; Available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication; Wikimedia

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Trees and Shrubs at Boston's Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, was founded in 1831 as "America's first garden cemetery" or "rural cemetery"; now a National Historic Landmark.  It is especially beautiful in the winter.

Friday, January 17, 2014

What is "Tree Huggers" about?

Here is a blog mainly about my writing and those of others about trees. I'll also be putting in links here to recent environmental struggles about trees as well as great videos, products and new tree introductions.