Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A Connection to Trees in a New England 'Landscape Garden'
Each new day the hills and sky greet one another wearing a new cloak of light.
Dawn's brush strokes stretch across the canvas of air . . . creating an ephemeral painting of ever changing hues.
Hawks are moving through . . . here a Sharp-shinned Hawk ... Accipiter striatus , eyes the ground for voles . . . I hope!
He may have been excited by all the activity of the Robins and Juncos too . . . my presence did not seem to make him feel welcome.
Each day I look out on the landscape and feel so lucky to live where I do. One of the reasons I have such a deep connection to my gardens is due to my love of the trees I have inherited or planted, and the spaces created between them. I truly think of my gardens and farm as a 'Landscape Garden' in many respects. Not like the great English Landscape Gardens of the 1700's, though I do feel kindred to the thoughts of Alexander Pope, who inspired designers of that era by writing . . . "In all, let nature never be forgot . . . Consult the genius of the place." and I agree wholeheartedly with his words “amiable simplicity of unadorned nature”. Here in my rustic humble 'Landscape Garden' out in the north field a Rock Maple (in foreground) is in dialogue with a Metasequoia, Native Black Cherry and Oak. The Meta and Rock Maple are farther apart than they appear in this photograph.
My Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Dawn Redwood' is a gift from a friend who worked in the gardens at Smith College . . . a young sapling from a mighty tree that has resided there for many years. Below is the parent of my young teenager. When I stand beneath this tree of such an ancient Chinese ancestry, and try to imagine the youngster in my garden growing to this size I smile deeply . . . in hopes that others too will preserve it. Being planted in the north field it will hold back strong winds in the winter months. I hope I have given the Rock Maple plenty of room to spread it's lush canopy too.
My Metasequoia has aged with me over these last fifteen to twenty years . . . I have the exact date we planted it written down in a journal somewhere I am sure. Her delicate deciduous foliage adds a lovely rusty orange to the fall garden.
This sculpted native Black Cherry Prunus serotina holds a very special place in my heart, for it was found covered by briars, vines and other trees, when a dear friend died and wanted his ashes spread beneath another Black Cherry down in the woods. I could not find the other native cherry, but discovered this one and now call it Michael's tree . . . for if he had seen it from the dormers upstairs, he would have loved it and given it many hugs over the years he lived here. This area was completely over grown twelve years ago. It was that long ago . . . his family and I held hands standing around this serpentine form in honor of Michael's life, which was dedicated to preserving the dignity of our earth.
I love this native Black Cherry and from whatever perspective . . . it is a glorious sight in the landscape.
I look out on this view as I write . . . now the Black Cherry's naked branches are swaying in the high winds. I recall fondly watching the Baltimore Orioles flying to and from Michael's tree as they have favored it for their nests for several years now. Mike would have loved that too.
These giant Rock Maples (Sugar Maples) Acer saccharum stand guarding the old house and were most likely planted the time the 1790 farmhouse was built. They are majestic and have been my loyal friends for over thirty years. One of these three may be the parent or grandparent of the much younger Rock Maple shown in the first tree photo above.
Here the Metasequoia stands dwarfed by the huge limbs of the Rock Maples . . . planted on the south side of the farmhouse, to offer shade and cooling during the summer months. I must be a vigilant steward with these powerful trees for they are close to the house. Wild Honey Bees live in the middle Rock Maple and their branches are a favorite perch for Raptors. These are just three of the amazing trees that are part of my 'Landscape Garden' and life. There are others in the gardens I will feature later and in the forest many many more. I am blessed to have the connections I do with these creatures of nature . . . I stand in awe of their stature and imagine their grandness below the earth's surface too. . . their life in darkness and light and all the years of witnessing the world around them. They are generous in how they enhance the quality of air, earth and awareness within all who grow to know and love them. They stand like great sculptures in the gardens and offer countless wildlife safe housing and nourishment. They are Nature's Masterpieces!