Arbor Day: Planting a Beautiful Future

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If you want to create a lasting legacy of beauty, plant a tree.  If you want to heal the planet and counteract climate change, plant a tree.  If you want to improve the quality of life for yourself, your family and your immediate neighbors, plant a tree.

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Trees change the world.  They create shade, sequester carbon,  produce oxygen, humidify the air, hold and feed the soil, create habitat for wildlife, support the entire ecosystem, and give a place character.  And in their spare time, they sway in the wind; helping forecast the weather and making musical, soothing sounds.

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Trees inspire awe and wonder.  Some survive to extreme old age; experiencing centuries of life and service.  Trees feed us, shelter us, and mark the passing of the seasons with their annual changes.

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Today is Arbor Day.  First celebrated in the United States in Nebraska, when a million trees were planted in 1872, this remarkable day is observed all over the United States and around the world.  Some call it ‘Tree Planting Day.”  It is a day to reflect on the importance of trees, and to add a tree or two to our environment.

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Other than loving and teaching a child, planting and protecting trees is one of the most satisfying pursuits of a lifetime. Both require faith that our simple acts today will resonate far into the future, creating positive change, and shaping how our community transforms itself for good.

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A potted Ginko tree that I adoped in early spring, represents one of the earliest trees on the planet, still growing today.  Fossils of this tree’s leaves date to 270 million years ago. Its leaves turn vibrant golden yellow in late autumn.

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So please celebrate Arbor Day this weekend in a way that feels fitting to you.  Commit an “Act of Green” to somehow enrich your life and community.

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I have been planting Japanese Maple trees this spring.  You might say I’m collecting them at the moment. Japanese Maple trees, with their exquisite leaves, add a bit of elegance to our wild garden.

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The first two I came across were small enough to plant into interesting pots to keep on our deck this summer.  The third, as tall as I am, came to me last weekend at a community plant sale.  I have tucked its roots into a moist and sheltered spot beside the Butterfly Garden.  And so I have committed my “Act of Green” this Arbor Day, and I trust you have, as well.

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If you’ve not had a chance, there is plenty of time this weekend to get outside, visit a park or garden center, plant up a pot of something, and find your own special way to make our planet a big healthier, a bit greener, and a lot more beautiful.

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A tiny investment today can yield a lifetime of satisfaction and beauty.

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Woodland Gnome 2018

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“The planting of a tree,
especially one of the long-living hardwood trees,
is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost
and with almost no trouble,
and if the tree takes root
it will far outlive the visible effect
of any of your other actions,
good or evil.”

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George Orwell
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Forest Lane Botanicals

 

The display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

The display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

A neighbor  asked last summer whether I had discovered Forest Lane Botanicals.

She told me that it is a small family operation, a Virginia certified nursery specializing in ferns, hostas, Azaleas, Japanese Maples, various shade loving perennials, and some native plants.

This garden by the drive leading in to Forest Lane Botanicals enjoys shade from the forest and from established Azaleas.

This fountain by the drive leading in to Forest Lane Botanicals enjoys shade from the forest and from established Azaleas.

Intrigued, I made a mental note to find them.  One thing led to another, and their season ended before I found time to visit.

But I determined to find them this spring, and yesterday my partner and I visited for the first time.  The gardens are open to the public between March 12 and July 5 this year,  from 10 AM until 4 PM on Wednesdays through Saturdays.

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What a treasure!  This beautiful wooded property, near York River State Park, is tucked away along country lanes, in a residential area.

Owners Wendy and Alan Wubbels were away at a show in Richmond, but we visited with Cathy, who greeted us warmly and showed us around.

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The gardens exhibit the love and care with which they are maintained.

An intricate fairy garden in a large basin overlooks this forest garden

An intricate fairy garden in a large basin overlooks this forest garden

A peaceful and romantic woodland garden, the tremendous repertoire of plants blends seamlessly from one vignette and bed to the next across several acres.

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Garden art, sculpture, flowing fountains, fairy gardens, novel planting containers,  and unusual cultivars of familiar plants make this an intriguing garden to wander as one absorbs idea after idea for developing a woodland garden.

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A true partnership between man and nature is evident as one strolls through the beds. 

May Apple,

May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum, wanders through beds and along paths throughout the shade gardens.

Native May Apples, Podophyllum peltatum,  pop up at will in paths and beds, most now in bloom with their shy Hellebore like flowers tucked safely under the umbrella leaf.

Map Apples mix with ferns in this bed.

Map Apples mix with ferns and Foam Flower in this bed.

The large green leaves of this spring ephemeral march along the forest floor, springing up from underground rhizomes early each spring before leaves fill out the forest canopy, and then disappear by late summer.

sSedlings of Japanese Maple grow in the path beneath their parent tree.

Seedlings of Japanese Maple grow in the path beneath their parent tree.

Tiny Acer seedlings also escape the boundaries of beds, springing up beneath their parents in odd places.

A creeping form of Tiarella marches down a slope, awash in white blooms.

A creeping form of Tiarella, foam flower, cascades down this shady bed.

A creeping form of Tiarella, foam flower, cascades down this shady bed between ferns and Hostas.

Azalea shrubs are just bursting into flower as fronds unfurl to announce the presence of re-emerging ferns.

Hellebores are finishing up as ferns and Tiarella are emerging.

Hellebores are finishing up as ferns, Hostas and Heuchera are emerging.

Amazed at the many tasty plants, such as Hostas and Azaleas, which suffered no apparent nibbling from deer; I asked Cathy how the Wubbels protect their garden from grazing.

She indicated the many Boxwood shrubs throughout the garden.  Apparently, deer detest the aroma of Boxwood.  Along with a variety of sprays used on a regular basis, the Boxwood help deter deer from visiting the garden.

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A lovely garden, made all the more attractive for gardening fanatics like me because pots and pots of little starts of these lovely plants are lined up discreetly around the edge of the garden, and in a retail display area.

"Lady in Red"

“Lady in Red” Lady Fern has dark red stems on each frond.

I came looking for ferns, and left with three beautiful Lady Ferns,  Athyrium felix-femina  “Lady in Red.”

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Stands of Columbine by the drive, and emerging daylily foliage, hint at the beauty still to unfold here as the season progresses.

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My partner and I anticipate making a return trip very soon.  There is this lovely variegated Iris we have just the spot for…..

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Pitcher plants are found in abundance in sunny areas at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Pitcher plants are found in abundance in sunny areas at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

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A new site allows me to continue posting new content since after more than 1700 posts there is no more room on this site.  -WG

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