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Tag: tree

  • A Tree to Grow On: Planting Trees for Toddlers

    September 26, 2013

    Have you ever planted a tree for a loved one?

    A tree for a Toddler

    Vinnie dancing for joy under the Styrax Tree his parents ordered & planted for his first birthday.

    Recently, our talented graphic designer friend Vince Dean of Pixelube got in touch to ask for help selecting a tree to plant for his son’s first birthday.

    In the past, we’ve been asked for help selecting a tree to plant in memory of a loved one — usually human, canine or feline — but we’d never been approached with Vince’s idea and unique goals. So, we took a look at his location together, paired that with his goals, and landed on Styrax japonicus (Japanese Snowbell tree).

    These trees perform well in sunny sites. They bloom beautifully with delicate fragrance in late spring, attracting hummingbirds and honeybees. Plus, they provide summer shade and lovely yellow fall color before losing their leaves for winter.

    Within a decade we hope this tree will grow into a sturdy, robust youngster that will support the active climbing young Vinnie will probably be doing by then. For now, he’s dancing with joy at the foot of this baby tree he’ll be growing up with.

    Maybe if we’re lucky Vince will send us an annual birthday photo showing how this boy and his tree grow up together!

    If you love our logo and/or website, don’t miss out on Daddy Vince’s services over at Pixelube. We’d be nowhere without him.

    Want to plant your own tree to grow on or mourn under, get in touch to discuss your options and place a tree order today! Fall, much of winter, and spring are great times to select your tree, prep your site, and plant your own fledgeling forest.


  • Another Tree Bites the Dust

    February 25, 2013

    Our neighbor proceeded with cutting down a tree next door, and we’re a little in shock, a bit in mourning, and struggling to see the silver lining. When I heard the chain saws firing up just as I was preparing to head down to the opening day of the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, I decided I better stick around and stand guard of anything on my side of the fence. With camera in hand, I watched three guys take the life of a healthy Portugal Laurel next door.

    Garden with Portugal Laurel

    An early spring 2012 view of our garden including the Portugal Laurel

    Let me clarify: this was three guys, two trucks, multiple chain saws, one rake, a blower and a stump grinder. None of them or their equipment indicated there was a certified arborist among them. And given the job they did cutting all the low branches off  and re-topping suckers on the pear tree in the back garden, I’m fairly confident in assuming this was just a bunch of dudes who know how to fire up power equipment and then kill with it. So, within about an hour they had slaughtered the tree and turned it into a driveway, demolished bird habitat, and completely changed our garden’s exposure. (more…)

  • Historical Ginkgo Chopped Down

    February 13, 2013
    Standing Beneath a Giant GinkgoTree in Farragut Square

    Standing Beneath a Giant Ginkgo Tree in Farragut Square

    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.

  • Sustainable Holiday Gifts that Give to Everyone

    November 29, 2012
    Park in Seattle's Discovery Park

    A bench like this one offers urban hikers a spot to rest and reflect as they make their way up or down a woodland, cliff-side trail in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

    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 (link broken 2014) 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.

  • Are Mushrooms in My Garden Bad?

    October 12, 2011
    Beautiful, Gilled Mushroom Ornaments an Autumn Lawn

    Beautiful, Gilled Mushroom Ornaments an Autumn Lawn

    All the time — especially in fall and spring — I get asked over and over again if the mushrooms popping up in gardens are harmful. The answer, in general, is that they’re fine.

    Actually, the mushroom you see is just the portion of a larger beast that lives throughout the soil all the time. When you see a mushroom form, the fungi is in the process of reproducing itself by spitting out spores that will eventually become new mushrooms nearby.

    (You can support this blog by buying through our links. Purchases made through the affiliate links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors. Thank you for buying and helping support us!)

    Now, to be clear, there are times when seeing the fruiting bodies of fungi (aka the mushrooms) is a warning sign that something not so good is going on. For instance, if shelf fungus forms on a tree, its time (or quite likely past time) to bring in an arborist to check on the health of the tree. These fungi begin putting out fruiting bodies when they’ve eaten up much of the tree already. In most cases, fungi goes for organic material already beginning to die or decay, but when it goes for living plants, that plant is likely on its way out.

    And, just because a mushroom isn’t doing damage to your garden doesn’t mean it won’t do damage to you or your pets if you decide to nibble on them. I won’t even begin to try to tell you how to tell an edible mushroom from a toxic one.

    Brilliant Yellow Vomit Fungi in Summer

    Brilliant Yellow “Vomit” Fungi in Summer

    Fungi comes in all sorts of forms from wiggly jelly cups to puff balls to cascading beards to varieties that eat and grow over other mushrooms to barfy looking technicolor piles to the traditional forms we all (pretty much) recognize from the grocery store. And, yes, there are many more forms as well. But, knowing which are edible and which are not is a deadly game if you aren’t trained. So, unless you’re absolutely certain you know what you’re picking, don’t even think about eating them. Some will make you sick right away; others can take days to destroy your internal organs – permanently. Even it if looks like a squirrel already nibbled on a ‘shroom cap in the garden, don’t think that means you can eat it!

    Puff Ball Fungi Popping Up

    Puff Ball Fungi Popping Up

    If patches of mushrooms are popping up in your garden beds or your lawn, odds are they’re not doing any damage. If you enjoy seeing them appear, know they’ll probably disappear just as quickly after they spread their spore and go back to growing underground as mycelium where they live all the time. And as they’re growing, they’re helping process toxins, assisting vascular plants in taking up soil water and nutrients, and aiding in the decomposition process that converts decaying material nutrients into forms that your garden plants can use and thrive upon.

    Purchases made through the following affiliate links pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors. Thank you for buying and helping support us!

    Want to learn more about mushrooms and even get to go picking edible varieties with people in the know? Consider joining and taking classes with a local mycological society like Psms.org. Groups like this also often assist communities with identification of mushrooms found in home gardens, and they can provide help should you suspect mushroom poisoning has occurred.

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