February 13, 2013
This morning I was heart-broken to learn that a life of 140+ year old Ginkgo tree was taken – for no good reason. Rather, it was murdered by way of ineptitude.
Yep, by way of The Garden Professors, I read that an amazing Ginkgo tree was cut down by a contractor in Washington DC. (You’ll notice the report doesn’t credit the work to an arborist, let alone even give them a term like “tree worker.” Somebody instead apparently hired this out to somebody with a chainsaw and no good sense.)
A few years ago my sister and I were on vacation in Washington and decided to walk through the city from Georgetown to the Mall. Along the way, a giant Ginkgo tree caught my eye. Although I can’t be 100% certain that this tree is the one that was reportedly chopped down, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. The tree we saw is pictured to the right, and it was huge and gorgeous. And, yes, it was in the same park/square where they cut down a Ginkgo that likely was the largest and oldest of its kind in the capitol.
Oh, and apparently, they were supposed to cut down sick Ash tree. (Perhaps that’s the very same Ash in green behind me in the photo.) Not sure how in the world a tree professional would mistake one for the other. They’re incredibly different looking trees — even during the dormant months. But, then again, this was a “contractor”. Nobody said anything about hiring a tree professional to do the right job.
And with that, I’ll end my rant with this: Never let someone who isn’t a certified horticulturist with proven plant identification knowledge get anywhere close to your beloved plants. Or, you may lose a treasure that can never be replaced.
November 29, 2012
Several years ago I wrote a post about the Seattle Parks Foundation program that enables donors to give sustainable holiday gifts — a tree, a bench or a park swing. This holiday season, I decided to check to see if the program was still in action. Turns out it is & they’re offering many more gifting options that give back in so many ways. (It also turns out they updated their website & broke my original link. Whew! Got that fixed.)
In addition to accepting donations to plant trees, hang swings or put up a memorial bench, the program now enables you to donate toward restoration programs. And, you can even choose which program your dollars will go toward. For instance, if a salmon stream near your home is being renovated, you can specify that your donation goes to that. Or, if a loved one passed and her favorite bit of forest is being cleared of invasive blackberry, you can choose to give to that program. Maybe your brother donates time building trails on steep slopes. For under $200 you can choose to equip a volunteer, which may ensure your brother gets all the ropes he needs to stay safe as he gives back in his free time.
Or, consider donating $45 toward the procurement of a native plant or $450 toward sponsoring the care of 500 square feet of urban forest. Either of those should assuage any guilt you’re carrying for that decorated cut Christmas tree that goes up every year in the family room.
Don’t have cash? The program accepts just about any kind of money donation. They even take gifts of stock, so instead of taking a loss why not turn something that may have tanked on you into a gift that gives back to the environment?
Whether you choose to adopt-a-plot at just under $4k, give a small recurring gift each month or put up a bench where your family can visit for generations to come, this holiday gift option is one that stays local and is a blessing that goes far beyond the excitement of Christmas day.
And, to be clear, these gifts aren’t just for the holiday season. Donations are accepted year-round! Learn more and give back here.
If your community has a similar program, please let us know in the comments below for the benefit of all.
April 24, 2012
The U.S. Forest Service is challenging U.S. urban citizens to photograph our neighborhood forests, which contribute to the “more than 100 million acres of urban and community forests” that are, in their words, “the hardest working trees in America.”
Whether we snap a picture of trees lining our streets, capture a stately specimen in our gardens or feature bud break in a nearby park, we can join others in illustrating the beauty of forests of the United States. Plus, we can enter up to two photographs for a chance to win some pretty cool gear from the National Forest Foundation.
Get the contest details, follow the action and enter your photos here.
(Thanks to our contributing arborist Katy Bigelow of Bainbridge Island for bringing this event to our attention!)
September 30, 2011
Today’s post & photo courtesy of contributing writer & arborist Katy Bigelow:
Thanks to arborist Dan Kraus, more than 800 cats have been rescued from trees in the Seattle area. As a result of completing my first cat rescue last month, Dan generously added me to his directory of arborists who rescue cats internationally! I’m very proud to start offering this service to Bainbridge Island and parts of Kitsap county.
My next door neighbor, a long time island fireman, was also excited about this news. He mentioned that sometimes the fire department here often doesn’t have the time or resources to get to stuck cats. Also, many homes sit on larger lots with trees over 100 feet tall growing in the back forty and that’s where the cat had escaped to. In this case, as good as they are, fire fighters simply can’t rescue because of access and their own safety.
Today I rescued a small, young kitty that was about 40 feet up in a fir. The family had been away (having a baby!) and when they got home, they had no idea how long their cat had been in the tree.
My best advice from Dan has been, “Don’t let the cats take you to places not safe to climb.” He’s right – as much as your cat wants to be rescued, there’s the chance it’s in a tree not safe to get in. Today’s tree was very close to some power lines and a very busy road, but fortunately the situation was safe to be able to climb with caution.
Best part of the story? When I started climbing up to get Pogo, he started to climb down – we met half way, and he jumped onto my chest with a big hug!
Don’t worry kitties, I’m on my way!
August 19, 2011
Earlier this year, Garden Mentors® decided to support a pair of tree guys and a camera crew in their journey to traverse a grove of endangered White Oaks in Oregon.
Their plan: traverse the trees in a particular grove over the course of about a week without any assistance from the ground and without touching the ground the whole time. Yep, they had to carry their lives on their backs, sleep in the trees and figure out how to get from one tree to the other — all without help from below & without leaving the grove for even a moment. Along with another 106 backers who, together, gave over $8000, we contributed what we could to their Kickstarter campaign and were thrilled when the project met its funding requirements. (Actually, their goal was $5000, and donors topped that!)
Recently, as donors, we received an invitation to attend the September 2011 world premiere of their film documenting this journey. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend. But, if you’re near Portland, Oregon and this adventure captures your soul the way it does ours, please make the journey. Pay the $7 to get in and enjoy! (Where, when & other details below.)
Here’s a glimpse via the Treeverse trailer, courtesy of Uncage the Soul productions. (What a great name, right?)
Where, When and Other Details:
Where: Mission Theater: 1624 NW Glisan, Portland, OR 97209
Cost of Admission: $7 – proceeds go to NW Documentary’s education center
Time: September 2, 2011: Doors around 7pm, show starts at 8pm. DIY Doc films from 8:15-9:30 & Treeverse from 9:30-10
Other Details: After-Party 10pm until the beer is gone (yes, that means this is a 21+ event)
May 24, 2011
Earlier this week the view from my office window changed a lot when my neighbor embarked on cutting down a tree. He decided to take out his Sorbus aucuparia (Ash Tree) that bordered our property. Over the years I had both hated and loved this tree. Now that its gone, I both miss it and am looking forward to the changes its removal will bring to our gardens.
I disliked it for all the messy, mushy seeds that fell all over my vegetable beds. I disliked it for all the tenacious seedlings it gave me to pull. It frustrated me by sending strong roots into my vegetable beds, draining much needed moisture from my food crops. And, mostly, it made me sick when it bloomed that awful, white, fuzzy, pollen filled bloom that so many plants exude around May.
But, too, I loved it.
I loved the early spring leaves fluttering. I adored watching robins get drunk on lingering, fermented berries in fall. I relished the small bit of shade garden it created to protect my Garrya from summer sun. I adored the sense of privacy it gave to our guest room.
But, now it is gone. Some of it went to the clean green drop; some will become ash in our summer fire pits after the wood has cured. And our gardens will change.
This tree had been on the NW corner of my property; their SW corner. So now my neighbor’s blueberries and lawn will enjoy much more sun. We won’t worry as much about the tree potentially invading our sewer line, to which it had been adjacent. And, my veggie beds and other mixed borders won’t have to vie with a large tree for water and nutrients.
And my office view will change and likely the temperature up here will too. I used to watch the birds flying among the branches. Now I look further out to see them in lovely Japanese Maples. When the sun is setting furthest north on the horizon on the hottest days of summer, the tree will no longer block those rays from our west facing office windows in the attic. But, actually, by that time of day, the sun will have pounded the roof of our house all day anyway, so nobody will be up here to sweat out those last hours of heat anyway.
In not too many years the larger plants on my side of the property line as well as my neighbor’s slow-growing Cercis will make up the difference. My evergreen Arbutus unedo is likely to get quite tall as will a nearby Japanese Maple. And then, the shade will return along with the view and all of the little song birds I miss so much today.