Two Bur Oaks and a Crawdad

A group of swamp white oaks Healthy soil is important, but for whom?  In the Garden  The young bur oak would not be kept down. Yet again it revealed itself among the standing dead stalks of a large patch of purple bee balm, a good three feet tall and leafing out. In spring, a bur oak’s leaves look like sharp-edged, glossy cutouts. They are not green, but shade delicately among soft corals, tans and pinks. The green comes a bit later, like a slow-motion wave gently pervading each leathery leaf. The question, as it had been for several years, was what to do with this young newcomer to the garden.  About ten feet away and across the walk from house to garage stands a second bur oak that I’d started from an acorn some twelve years ago. I’ve enjoyed watching it grow its first sets of true leaves, become large enough to attract birds and then mature enough to bear acorns. This winter I limbed it up three feet from the ground, mainly to give the sedges and wild geraniums growing underneath a

Children Need Trees and Shrubs, Too

My brother told me this sad story: He is selling his house, which has in back a patio, a strip of grass, and a small wooded area with native flowers and bushes, paths, and places to sit. A prospective buyer came through and liked the house, but she was worried. Where would her children play? She discussed cutting down the trees, including some young oaks, in order to put up a swing set and gym. He tried to explain the value of a small natural area for wildlife and humans (reconciliation ecology in action). Children need nature, and what better place to find it than the back yard?

Trying to sell a house in this economy is sad, or certainly difficult enough, but my brother and I shook our heads over this prospective buyer's truly sad lack of imagination. Had her children been along she might have been surprised at their reaction to the backyard--most likely it would have been incredibly positive. My brother was relieved not to be selling to her.

Comments

Gloria said…
I hope he finds a buyer willing to allow the trees to stay. We have found that the grand children find much to interest them in our gardens with no open space large enough for playing ball.
I think he will, most people would value trees, I should think. Wild backyards are where many children first get imprinted by nature. Of course, then they grow up to be nature lovers :)

Hope this happens to your grandkids.
knapperbill said…
Hi Adrian. I think you make a valid point here about kids and nature. I'm an elementary educator, and it seems as if kids become more separated from nature every year. I hold outdoor education summer classes, and am always impressed with their natural inclination to begin climbing trees. They just simply need to get outside! Great blog, by the way. You have many thought provoking topics. Love it!