Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gardening Diva Gets Older...

The older and wiser (wink!) I get, I’m continually in awe of how life comes full circle. When I was young, growing up in Wisconsin, there was a small stretch of land that we affectionately called ‘Tree Island.’  The neighborhood kids would play for hours in and among these 5 gnarly multi-branched trees.  We’d climb all over the trees, swinging like monkeys from branch to branch, sometimes successfully, sometimes not!  I have one vivid memory of the ‘not so’ successful.  I was climbing and one misstep caused me to fall out of the tree and land so hard, that I encountered my first experience with having the wind knocked out of me.  Oh, how I cried as I ran home! Yet, as much as I remember that fantastic moment in time (note sarcasm!), I can’t escape the memory of feeling completely connected to my friends among those big old trees.  Countless hours of entertainment coupled with secrets shared and friendships sealed made those 5 funky trees an exciting destination and treasured safe haven.
I feel lucky to have those wonderful childhood memories as a professional in the horticultural industry. I know the technical aspects of growing trees; proper pruning and growing practices.  I tout the environmental benefits; trees produce oxygen, harbor wildlife, provide shade and wind barriers for our homes.  Yet, to be honest, it’s the emotional sentiment that I gravitate towards every time.
Our gardens are a mirror of each of us and how we live.  Larry and my gardens have been designed with several things in mind, but nothing more important than our sheer comfort and enjoyment.  We’ve planted several trees over the years to celebrate our loved ones as they’ve passed.  Celebrate being the key word. As each season unfolds, reveals itself and then revolves into something entirely different, you can’t help but feel connected to the person being remembered.  The aesthetic beauty and function are just additional benefits!
I got started on this thought process today as I ponder the March weather.  In past years we’ve experiences mild weather, but have also taken some severe hits via ice storms and heavy snowfall.  It’s easy to delight in the anticipation of upcoming as tree buds begin to swell, signaling their desire to pop.  Now however, I see the beautiful branching structure of the trees, appreciating the true splendor that lies beneath the leaves.  Soon, the branches will be leafed out offering a completely different perspective.
Here’s a suggestion.  Now, while we wait for nature to do her ‘spring thing,’ take a drive or stroll down Rochester’s East Avenue.  You’ll find some of the oldest and grandest trees in our area; trees that have become finer with age (many 100+ years old).  East Ave will take on a new perspective as you realize the incredible Beeches, Oaks and other trees that stand silently and majestically. As I have shared my small childhood memory with you, imagine the stories that these magnificent trees could tell as they have quietly witnessed years of history and happenings going on right beneath their beautiful branches.  Little did I know that day as I ran away from Tree Island to the comfort of home (and mom’s arms), I would as an adult come to appreciate the undeniable beauty and majesty that trees bring to our world.  Grow some beauty, memories and enjoyment in your world….
...Frances Grossman


John said...

What a great idea to plant a tree to celebrate the life of a loved one! It has to be great to have some type of monument for those who have influenced your life. I am sure you feel an unexplained connection with them as you are around those trees. I hope you don't mind but I will be adapting this tradition into my family as well.

Larry Grossman said...

Fantastic! Always glad to share an idea... Larry