Landscape Thursday: “In lieu of flowers, the lone surviving conifer asked that donations be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants”.

“In lieu of flowers, the lone surviving conifer asked that donations be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants”.

This comment was made yesterday to one of my earlier posts ASPCP – ‘American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants’ click to see post </

The comment was from an article by Bill Speare called “Quincy Sideways Tree No More” at the Quincy Quarry. com click to see article
I hope you take the time to read the short article I believe he made his point and it was nice to have one of my post mentioned

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

Landscape Thursday: View Scape

Before  - Taken 9/10/06

Many times when we think to landscape, we’re working with plants and trees that are of a certain size and not much thought is given to what they will grow to be. The maple trees that were planted in this court yard were small , maybe 10 ft. tall without much width.

But give them 10 years or more of growth, they start to become what a tree will be, large with a big spread and only will grow larger. Many of the other plants in the court yard started to decline for what once was a sunny location, now was pretty much shaded most of the time.

New homes were built on the hill (where this picture was taken from) and this was their view scape of the Great Bay, where the Lamprey river flows in.
There was much discussion about the problem and finally the trees were removed. New trees were installed, ones that would never get as big as the ones that were removed (could be no higher than the height of the roof) and the other plants that had survive had a better chance to thrive.

So the moral is when we are planting trees and some large shrubs is consider what they are going grow into rather than what size they are as you plant it. For in the long run are you going to lose a pleasant view as you look out your window?

After - Taken 9/15/06

Curious Friday: Horned Oak Galls

044 (6)

I not really sure why I find galls of all types so fascinating, but whenever I find one I’m always taking pictures of it. So be forewarned as the season gets under way, you’ll might be seeing more.
The picture above is a horned oak gall on a pin oak and as ugly as it is it is pretty cool and the fact the a tiny a cynipid wasp created it, is amazing.

“Horned galls Callirhytis cornigera, are abnormal growths or swellings comprised of plant tissue found on leaves, twigs, or branches. These deformities are caused by a tiny, non-stinging, wasp which produces a chemical or stimuli inducing the plant to produce large, woody twig galls. Most galls are aesthetically not pretty, but normally cause little damage to tree. However, severe infections may bring about the decline of the tree. Chemical control is seldom suggested for management.
Life cycle
“In early spring a tiny wasp of the cynipidae family emerge from woody stem galls. The females lay eggs on the veins of the oak leaf buds. Male and female wasps emerge from these tiny, blister type galls on the leaf vein about mid summer. Mated females deposit eggs in young oak twigs. The next spring small swellings develop on the twigs and enlarge over the next two or three years. The galls provide protection, food, and shelter for the developing larvae. When the larvae reach maturity, the horned galls developed small spines or horns. An adult wasp emerges from each horn and another life cycle of wasps begins.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument


You stand as a monument
No plaque attached
No Dedications
Only a few still remember
Some day
All that knew this gentle man
Who laid your roots in the ground
Will be gone
Your surroundings may change
Yet we might hope
That you will live on
To remember


This scarlet oak was planted by a truly gentle man named Ray who live to almost 95. He was a remarkable plants-man, Landscaper and designer. I worked for him for many years and the oak was planted before I was even born. He built the house (top) and opened a nursery that was in business until he passed away, open for 60 years. After he was gone, the land was sold and the new owners wanted it turn it into medical practices park. Many of the trees are gone now, but I am happy they left this scarlet oak and I hope it is there for many generations to come.

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Another) Layer


How could I pass up the chance to do another post on one my favorite subjects when taking photos


I know I might look strange when others with cameras are taking pictures of the scenery, I’m walking right up to a trunk of a tree with camera in hand


There is something beautiful and majestic about a mature tree, with all of its tucks and folds, huge limbs reaching in all directions upward to welcome the sun.


It can be said the same for mature people, for when you look into their faces with all their lines of life. Of their character, their joy and sadness, love and loneliness, a lifetime of memories and the uncertainty about the future.
And like a tree it is something that should be admired for the beauty it holds


What Knot


For all the wonderful things trees do for us, we should show our appreciation. So the next time you pass a tree pucker up and give it a kiss


Knots for those who may not know it, is the tree’s reaction to wounds either when branches break off or are cut or when there are other wounds to the bark. With each years’ growth to the trunk new bark forms and over the course of years the bark will grow over the wounds. As shown in photo above


branch healing








I don’t know why? But I fascinated with tree barks and knots, so bear with me I’m sure it will pass.


Who’s Coming To Dinner? Or Life is a Buffet – Part 2

Who’s Coming To Dinner?
Or Life is a Buffet
Part 2


Life is a buffet , I know it sounds trivial or trifle, it certainly was to some of my former customers at the nursery or my clients now, when they want answers to what to do when something was eating the leaves on their plants. But it was hard to say, use this to kill that for as much as they weren’t happy about some caterpillar eating their plants, they were very happy to a butterfly or hummingbird moth visited their flowers. So life is a buffet it is so simple, yet as complex as all life itself. A living world made up of producers, consumers and decomposers that are all interdependent on each other for their existence. It is this interdependence that make up habitats and ecosystems. Or as John Muir much more elinguity wrote “When you tug on a single thing in nature you find it is attached to the entire universe”

The another factor of habitat is that it is the constant of change, for species live and die and other species may be affected where they might be wholly or in large part depended on the species in decline. When some species decline others move in with the resulting changes in habitat.. Habitat is also changed by of factors of climate; whether by individual events, or by slower changes that might occur over the course of decades, centuries or millenniums. The native landscape we see today has changed much even in the time we each have been alive. A seedling just staring when you were born, may now stand fifty feet or more tall.


Yet, if we were to step back in time , to more than 30,000 years ago the native habitat before the last ice age, it might been much different than what we think of as our native habitats in the present. For that habitat would have the result of an estimated 20,000 to a 100,000 years between glacial periods with millenniums of succession, maturity, changes in climate, natural disturbances and the possibility that many of those species that had existed, didn’t survive thru the last glacial period. Sometime around 30,000 to 18,000 year ago the ice advanced covering the all of northeast, much of the upper mid-west and across northern Europe and Asia with a mile plus thick layer of ice, destroying all living things that stood in its path and removing any record of those earlier habitats. And for the 6,000 to 8,000 years the ice advance and receded; it moved soils, rocks and boulders scraped and scared down to the bedrock of our region. Mountains much higher than what we see today, for they were reduced by the incredible force of the ice.

LGM deglaciation

At the glacial maximum (18,000 -22,000 years) so much of earth’s water was tied up in a frozen state that the earth’s oceans were 300 to 450 feet lower than what they are today. Globally, climate was greatly influence by the massive ice sheets that covered the northern hemisphere, tropical zones recessed with dryer weather patterns, ocean currents changed, as did the upper level wind currents. Resulting in many changes to native habitats worldwide, for it was a cooler and dryer earth and species were lost that couldn’t adapt or migrate to the changing environmental conditions



But after 8,000 years the ice began to recede more than it advanced and as the ice melted it formed inland seas with the rising ocean and massive lakes formed in the north-eastern quarter and in the middle of the continent much it in areas where the earth’s crust had been depressed by the sheer weight of the ice and ice dams that held back huge volumes of water. As time passed, there were breaks in the ice dams, erosion of loess and the crust of the earth moved upwards, released from the sheer weight of the ice sheets. As the water that were held back let go, massive floods occurred, carrying with it huge amounts of sediments; from clay, sand gravel to boulders. It flows thru mountain passes and valleys until it reached the coastal plains and beyond to the ocean. The strong flows from these glacial seas and lakes began to slow, which allowed for the larger sediments to be deposited in the valleys. As these rives continued out onto the flatter terrain the smaller sediments were deposited along the way. Once the waters reached the coastal plain the fine particles of sand and clays settled out of the slow flowing rivers. This process occurred many times over the course of 4,000 to 6,000 years. Rivers form new pathways changed by the deposit of sediments from earlier events, until the glacial melt had recessed far to the north and west. The earth continue to rebound, release from thousands of years of downward force. the waters that had flow out of the Tyrrell and Vermont seas to what is now Hudson Bay and Lake Champlain. The huge lakes that covered a good portion of New Hampshire, such as the Hitchcock, Winnipeukee, Merrimac and Contoacook when drain created the bear-bones of the material landscape which was the framework for the succeeding habitats, layered upon layered that resulted in the natural native landscape we know of today. As the ice recessed the weather began to change, wind currents shifted that blew massive amounts of dust, sand and other fine material particles along the edge of the recessing ice sheets dropping layer upon layer of particles across the middle part of North America to depths measured in feet ( 30 feet or more).




So we leave it for now at some 15,000 years ago, when many new great changes start to occur in what we think of as our present day native ecosystems, but at the northern latitudes of N. America it was a blank slate, waiting for the first signs of life to return.


The Subject of a Few Trees Among So Many


Years ago when my daughters still lived at home, my younger daughter had gotten me a gift for Christmas, when I unwrapped it I saw that it was a good size book about trees titled  ‘North American Landscape Trees’ by Arthur Lee Jacobson, published by Ten Speed Press. My first thought as I quickly look thru a few pages was that here was another book that would sit on my bookcase never to be opened again, gladly I can say how wrong I was. For what it contain was a listing of many different cultivars of different species of landscape trees, in fact there are over 5,000 listed from a 198 genera and 950 species and what it covers is the parentage, how they might have come into existence, where and when it was introduced, how and why it was named and a description of it appearance and other facts that might be available. When you see so many listed and you realize that so many of them just aren’t available it does seem a shame. It is understandable from the point of nurseries that none could possibility carry that many and I know from managing a nursery that even when you try to carry wide range of selections it doesn’t mean folks are going to buy them, unless they might get mentioned by one of TV garden gurus or featured on one of the Home and Garden networks. So for nurseries if can be a iffy proposition trying to broaden the inventory and besides sometimes the descriptions offered by wholesale catalogs of trees they carry give the best description of a tree and omitting what might be a fault, an example such as with crab apples when none of them suggest disease or pest resistance there is a good chance that they aren’t and what might be it’s good features is out shadowed by its’ bad ones. It is another thing about this book and books like  Woody Plants that they can give objective opinions, so when we might want to use a certain tree in our designs we might know what to expect. Sometimes, even with objective opinions and good descriptions it doesn’t at all work, for plants sometimes do their own thing outside of what is expected.

To the subject of a few trees, Jen and I had planted a couple of crab apples out in front of our home a few years ago, and on one of the first days of this past February we notice a lot of birds flying around the house, when we looked out the window we saw Robins and Cedar Waxwings picking off all the fruit from one of those trees, the other hardly was touched, to look at the two trees and their fruit set, they looked pretty much the same, size and color, but they are two different varieties, the one the birds loved was a Malus ’Red Splendor’ which is a descended of  Malus ‘Red Silver’ who parentage is M. baccata x M. sieversii and was introduced in 1948 by a Melvin Bergerson of Fertile MN. Now the ‘Red Splendor’ has good disease resistance, but it’s parent ‘Red Silver’ doesn’t. The other tree is a Malus ‘Indian Summer’ a cross between M. Zumi x M. ‘Almey’ it was a seedling raised in 1955 at the Simpson nursery and is a sister of M. ‘Centurion’ Both trees are beautiful pretty much year-round, but I don’t know why the birds favorite one over the other, a little difference in the size of the apple, one sweeter than the other? Now ‘Indian Summer’ is easy to get where as ‘Red Splendor’ doesn’t seem to be around in the trade much.

In downtown Dover there is a 5 story brick building that on it side wall there once was a full size mural of a scene of a Italian village street with old buildings lining the small alley heading off into the horizon and in the fore ground planted in front of this mural and part of the scene was a Acer saccharum ‘ Newton Sentry’ the original specimen of this tree was planted at a school in Newton Ma. in 1871 and later moved to Newton cemetery in 1885. The nursery I worked had provided this tree and had also used them in other designs and there might be still some growing at the nursery. These trees are somewhere around 30 –40’ and are less than 6’ wide, their fall color is yellow to orange. I could never find out where Ray had gotten them and I have never seen them listed, but I know they exist and I’m sure there would be good uses for them. Sadly, the tree and the mural are gone when they bumped out the side of the building by a few feet.

Lastly, I’ll mention about a Magnolia stellata, that back in 1997 we had used it in a landscape planting, it was a island type planting that included a Picea pungens, a Picea pungens ’Montgomery’, a Cotinus coggygria ‘Nordine’ and assorted other shrubs and the reason mention them all is that over the years all the plants have grown as expected, except for the Star Magnolia, it looks healthy, flowers well, doesn’t seem to have any problems, but after eleven years it still is only 4-5’ tall, I don’t know why, is it a sport or is something going on under the soil we can’t see? It works out so well in that island, with its’ size, we never think to prune it for it may decide to take off and do what it is suppose to do and then it might not work so well.

There are other trees and shrubs I can think of and maybe something to write later and also, I know, I and others would interested in what you all have observed with plants that may not be what has been described in the catalogs, that make them good or not so good plants to be used in the landscape, so if you feel inclined share.