For the man who loved trees—it was this tree who saved him…
In the first story on the Santa Rosa Fire, the hero tree was an Ulmus Parvifolia...a Chinese or Lacebark Elm.
“Everyone got out…I woke them up…but I wouldn’t have gotten up if it wasn’t for this tree here.” He pointed to the lean, upright bones of a street tree—still standing tall (if skeletal) sixty feet in the air. …"My wife was always on me to cut it down but we lived in the house for 35 years, and I never did. It rained down little pellets on my window…I thought it was hail."
"That tree woke me up…and I woke up all my neighbors…saved my life …that tree.”
For gardeners, this is not news. Trees are neither silent nor still. Like us they use air to speak in rustles, moans, whistles, and sometimes crashes. Their shelter is just one reason they help us be still, but do they talk?
They talk to each other and to other trees through their roots in relationship with various fungi but also thru chemical compounds they emit thru their leaves indicating pests nearby or grazing animals are nearby.
In the bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben documents the stories of these slow interrelationships of root to root, and leaf to leaf tête-à-têt and considers them “wonderful beings” with innate adaptability, intelligence, and the capacity to communicate with — and heal — other trees.
Even if you cannot get your brain around this new research, gardeners (and those who have eyes to see…) already know that trees talk…to us. They talk to us through heart stopping beauty, the shady invitations to respite on a hot day, and through the living-large celebration of the seasons.
Consider going out today and get to know a tree…it may save your life.
As a chaplain in healthcare, we give a great deal of consideration to how we enter a room.
The way you enter says a great deal about who you are and how you will be received. It is the first sense you give of what you are about.
The same is true of a physical space: a house.
How an entry is situated, shapes the experience and says a great deal about the inhabitants ...or it could. It is not just the improved real estate value that an investment in "curb appeal" affects, it is the pleasure that the dwellers receive each and every time they enter their own home.
It welcomes them and can offer a sense of arrival and welcome.
This is a contemplative space, too.
Both are qualities that are important in choosing plant materials for the 21st century (and the rain hungry San Francisco Bay Area) One of my new favorite plants is this one - Blue Chalk Sticks : Senecio serpens.
It is smaller than its better known cousin S. mandraliscae, but still that striking blue, low maintenance, drought tolerant ground cover that is good for the Bay Area. It reaches 1' tall and 2' wide.
We are using it adjacent to a flagstone and "D.G." entry in San Jose. Stay Tuned for more.
What makes space sacred for you?
Making San Francisco Bay Area native, edible & water thrifty gardens...