Concern for the city trees

I’m not the only one who’s frantically worried about the state of our trees in and out of the city. I heard from a member of the Master Gardeners, Roberto Martello and a few others. Think of ideas about how we can help please. You can send them to me and I’ll pass them on to the right people. It we don’t rise up and help these old trees we’re going to have cities that look like they’ve been strip mined. We need to plant masses more, but more important we need TLC for what we’ve already got. In our area, developers have chopped down about 20 mature trees in two blocks and those are only the ones I know about. The weird winds we’re experiencing have taken out or damaged so many other old trees, the sound now is off machines dragging them off.

More cheerfully it’s so gorgeous and the soil is still warm, frost is a few weeks off, so I’m still mucking about digging things up. I’ve gone around the garden whacking away at stuff that I just can’t stand seeing fall over and only to look messy. I don’t like a lof of cleaning up in autumn but sometimes the neat freak gets to take over (this happens never happens in the house). Cutting back all species of Joe-Pye weed seems sensible. I don’t see either birds or anything else going after the seeds. And they look disreputable. But I leave most other stuff alone. I also want the garden to look really nice because I’m expecting guests from Victoria.

Valerie Murray is the director of the Abkhazi Garden in Victoria. It’s one of the most gorgeous places in the country. We once went there just as the sun was lowering and I cannot imagine a more romantic place. People like Valerie and her husband Bryan worked unbelievably hard to raise money for a foundation to save the garden from a developer’s intervention. Whew. They should be going all over the country showing us how to save what little respites we have left in our cities.

Valerie is also a superb gardener and many years ago I did a story for Gardening Life on her own garden. Soon it will be posted and you can go there and read about her. But technology as ever is really really slow. I’m still not up and running on the Mac; I?m still having trouble with sympatico.

Wanda sent in a good problem: she wants a terrific small tree to plant in front of a house that’s getting a lot of sun (ruling out a Japanese maple since it’s way too hot), and wonders about a fringe tree (Chinonanthus virginicus). Fringe Tree - Chinonanthus VirginicusIf there’s a picture with this blog it will be of that plant. It’s way underused and has foot long strand of white silk dangling from it’s branches like fine banners in spring (pendant panicles sez my encyclopaedia). Big luscious leaves the rest of the year. Mine’s in in partial shade and has taken many years to bloom. But my understanding is that it will grow in full sun. I cannot recommend it enough. It’s divine. I’m so crazy about mine that I’ll move it to a much more prominent spot next year (after bloom time). This is the case of another plant that will be more widely available if we demand it from nurseries. It’s an eastern native and a gorgeous specimen but there are species and cultivars that will grow on the west coast.