Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A New Tree Guide

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another beautiful day here on the mountain. The sun has the thermometer up to 66.9 and the water is running down the road in growing rivers. If I was still a skier I'd be on the slopes right now as spring skiing can't be better than it is today.

As the snowbanks melt, I get more and more anxious about what the gardens will look like, whether or not there has been any rodent damage and whether the frost has heaved out any of the late summer daylily plantings at the nursery. As I drove by the nursery today the snow was melting quickly and after tomorrow's rain, I should be able to park just off Route 2 and climb through the fence to see how things are looking. I haven't been to the nursery building since just after New Years when I had to rake three feet of snow off the back roof. Today it's clear and the Vermont Flower Farm sign is much more prominent than a week ago when it appeared in an area newspaper half covered by snow.

With bright sun, I keep thinking of the trees and shrubs and with that comes a need to mention the Arbor Day Foundation. I'm not a member but a recent press release included some interesting data on how they have grown as an organization over the years. Here are some Arbor Day Foundation accomplishments to think about as you contemplate spring planning and planting.

  • Replanting trees In America's National Forests that have been damaged by fire, insects or disease. Nearly 13 million trees have been planted in the past 16 years.
  • Reaching nearly 2 million fifth grade students in 76,000 classrooms annually through the Arbor Day National Poster Contest.
  • Connecting young children with nature through the Nature Explorer program. This multifaceted, comprehensive group of educational resources helps families and educators make nature a part of daily learning for children ages 3-8.
  • Honoring more than 3,400 communities populated by 120 million Americans through the Tree City USA program.
  • Organizing a variety of Arbor Day celebrations and tree-planting events in communities across the country.
  • Recognizing leaders in tree planting, conservation and environmental stewardship from around the world at the annual Arbor Day Awards celebration.
ADF is just now releasing an excellent tree identification book entitled What Tree Is That? If you have been a Vermont Gardens or The Vermont Gardener blog reader in the past, you might have read my comments about two pocket guides which I like. Wildflowers of Vermont and Shrubs and Vines of Vermont, both by Vermont freelance writer and photographer, Kate Carter, are excellent resources that easily fit into a shirt pocket or bag and make your identification chores easy and accurate. In contrast, What Tree Is That? has illustrations instead of photographs. The illustrations are detailed and accurate and once again, the book will slide into a pocket for inclusion on hikes. It will help identify over 250 species of trees that grow in North America. Detail is paid to leaf shape, leaf stems and twig structures, the fruits and flowers involved, and the details of the buds and bark. If you would like a little more detail, click on this link. The book is available in bookstores and on-line at Amazon beginning April 1st.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the sun is pulling me outside. Arbor Day should be entered into your calendar while you're thinking of it. Friday, April 24, 2009. And don't forget What Tree Is That? It may not "fit" for you, but it would be a great gift for a naturalist friend, a budding young forester, or your local library. Wherever a copy ends up, it will be well used.

Warm gardening greetings!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens

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