Tag Archives: Trees


Every person should develop a portion of patience. Gardeners and farmers need an extra large ration.

Hundred day corn. Ten year crop. Seven years to reach production.

Whether it’s a crop of corn to feed the local hogs and cattle, evergreens destined to become Christmas trees, or trees gifting us with luscious, sweet fruit, patience is required.

The above is an apple orchard. Not in the fall, when the fruit is large and ready to be picked. (And tasted.) This is one full of promise. It was a late spring the year this photo was taken. Usually the blossoms would have come, gone, and the branches would be decorated with small, fresh leaves.

Patience. May I have an extra serving? Please?

Starting Small

According to the calendar — spring begins next week. Reminder: we had snow on Sunday.

Mother Nature appears to be up to her usual March dance: a little rain, a cold wind, sunshine, and a touch of snow — all smashed together within a day or two.

These days also contain a few constants. And hints of hope.

Early spring bulbs push up into the air. Even their blossoms tough out the wind and clumps of wet snow. And the trees are waking up from winter rest.

A few days ago I went to visit the neighborhood apple tree. (If there are others, I don’t know their location.) And on a gray morning this is what I found.

Buds are becoming prominent saying:

The blossoms are coming. The leaves are coming. Be patient for fruit.


Thankful — Needful #4

Yes, I’ve added to the three necessities learned in elementary school. Actually, this is so important it should be first on the list.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Inhale. Exhale. Unless you’re inhaling air containing oxygen you’re in trouble. Fast. Minutes instead of the days with food.

The air around us is a natural mix of gases. Nitrogen. Oxygen. Carbon dioxide. The last one has been in the news a lot in recent years. We’re getting an excess of it – threatening to throw things out of balance.

Well, today we’re going to feature one of nature’s ways to keep the balance.Today let’s give thanks for trees. And their distant relatives shrubs and grasses. They are quiet and hard working. Remember your exhale — you’re ridding your body of excess carbon dioxide. And our friends the clever green plants – they take in that carbon dioxide and “breathe” out excess oxygen. How nice of them. So the next time you see a tree — or a smaller green plant — give thanks to nature’s air purifier.


Same Tree: New Crop

Two years ago, my book Hiding Places was released into the world. Since the hero of the book was developing an apple orchard, I found a local apple tree and took multiple photos of it from before first bud (hoping I’d selected the right tree) until ripe fruit was tempting and dropping.

Yes. I taste tested. Delicious.

The tree is still alive, producing a new crop of apples this year. As the only real fruit tree in a row of ornamentals, it stands apart from its neighbors. For one thing, it’s shorter. The crown is rather flat. Perhaps at one point during its growth, it was trimmed or pruned.

I doubt it receives much extra attention. Oh, a few of the employees of the nearby businesses may sneak a snack when the apples are ripe. No orchard spraying. No human assist during “June drop”. Just a semi-dwarf apple tree doing it’s bit in an urban environment.

100_5257Preview of the 2016 crop.

The book – Hiding Places — remains available through Crimson Romance, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.


First Blush

Summer is the growing season. Long warm/hot days and mild nights.  Add a dose of rain or two followed by a sunny day and plants stretch toward the sky, direct energy to their fruit, and release the enzymes to ripen.

Not all at once. And a gardener needs to pay attention to see the day to day changes. Just go away for a few days. What do you return to?

A jungle of weeds competing with your vegetables? Large, hard beans? Carrots and beets pushing out of the ground? Cucumbers too large and hollow to pickle? Tomatoes red, ripe, and falling off the vine?

These fine fruits were captured by my camera during the first, blushing days of maturity. They looked different – dense and pure green – a few days ago. Now the promise of sweet and ripe is evident.

100_3194_00 Patience please.

I’m still dressing in my red robes.

Safety First

Safety: my dictionary begins with freedom from danger and a protective device before moving on to definitions which apply to football.

I’ve yet to come across an absolute safe activity. Even sleeping can be dangerous in those odd moments of earthquake, fire, or flash flood. Unpredictable humans and animals necessitate a person to be alert for safety concerns when driving, riding, or walking.

Yet some activities are safer than others. And some which include danger are necessary. But many of these can be made safer by planning and equipment suited to the task.

Take the example of this man. While I personally would need a tremendous amount of money to do his job — he moved about doing his work. Yes, he’s paid. Well, I hope.


The structure on the left is a two story building.

Behind him are power lines.

A major street is out of scene to the right.

A Time to Feast

Sunlight hours are getting shorter. Summer days contain a hint of cool at the beginning. Garden crops ripen amid late season weeds.

And wildlife of all sizes takes advantage of the bounty in fields and gardens. And on trees. Some are very particular and select food from specific trees. Others are limited by what they can reach — unless the fruit is cooperative enough to fall to the ground. Others are mobile and inventive enough to obtain food from multiple sources.


This crabapple tree in Wisconsin is holding tight to a bumper crop this year.

While visions of jelly, and relish, and cider may dance in human minds — the wild turkeys have full stomachs on their bird brains.

Reliable witnesses tell of each tree hosting up to half a dozen gobblers at a time. And if the mornings have been frosty, and the fruit a little fermented… Shall we say the birds know how to party???


Wonderful, Wonderful, Weeping

We approach the final portion of the alphabet with a graceful beauty.


A person’s attitude toward the weeping willow may vary with age.

As a child, I would duck low and thread my way through the slender, draping branches of a neighbor’s tree and enjoy a quiet, cool “hiding place”.

Decades later I appreciate the effort my friend takes to trim the branches even for good appearance and high enough to permit ease of mowing.

You’ll spot these beauties along streams and rivers in the wild. They also find homes in suburban yards and cemeteries. They love water. Does your property have a low spot away from buildings? Moisten well and a playful tree like this will add interest. Allow lots of room — the house in the background is a split level (1 1/2 stories high).

Up, Up, Under

Quick, name a plant beginning with the letter “U”.

Yeah, I paused also. Then I went poking around on a botanical web site and found this beauty.

Umbrella tree

Umbrella tree

Tall, slender trunk with large, oval leaves. At the size of 24×10 inches you could snatch a large leaf as an emergency umbrella.

My visit was at the end of July. This is long after the white, showy flowers of May have vanished. This native of the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge, and adjoining areas — including Missouri — will be worth a spring visit.

Thinking of planting one? Don’t venture too far north for this member of the magnolia family. It will do well in part shade and prefers soil where the moisture remains constant.


Gorgeous Growth

Showy. That’s the description of the flowers on this tree. It doesn’t begin to capture the feeling of standing near on an early May day with the Giant Dogwood in full bloom.

Giant Dogwood

Giant Dogwood

Yes, the layer of blossoms in the foreground belongs to the same trunk you see in the center. I’m not good at estimating distances, but I’d wager this tree has a spread equal to height. It earns the name giant.

These flowers will turn to fruit, a literally feast for the birds. Are you fond of fall leaves? Typical fall colors for this tree is pale green to yellow. It’s a spring show.

Do you have a smaller yard? Consider the Flowering dogwood, a smaller, still showy cousin.