Saturday, April 28, 2012

My favorite tree(s) ~ remembered on Arbor Day

Barbara Clark asked on Facebook yesterday:
"Happy Arbor Day! What is your favorite tree?"
My favorite tree varied with where I lived.  I remember the two oak trees growing on opposite sides of the sidewalk when we lived in a duplex.  Gloria, a year older than I was (three years old to my two), had a tree on her side and I had one on my side.  Each had a tiny wall around it, a few inches high.  Gloria and I would circle our trees together, walking precariously on our little walls, balancing by touching our own trees as we went round and round, laughing.

When I was three, we moved into my grandmother's house after she died.  The plum tree beside the driveway became my climbing tree.  I could pluck a plum and eat it there, while it was still warm from the sun.

An elm tree grew beside the street and was visible from my bedroom window at the next place we moved.  It had that distinctive elm tree shape that I remember, though you younger readers may not, since a blight took out the elms all over the country.

My husband and I lived in an apartment, when we first married, and parked our car in the shade of a pecan tree in the back.  People came from all around to pick up the pecans that fell from the large tree, so we didn't get many of them.

At two or three years old, our twin daughters wanted to help us rake up the circle of yellow leaves under the hickory tree in our front yard.  Beautiful leaves on the tree in October and on the ground by Halloween.

We built a house on Signal Mountain actually, the house is in the town of Walden on Walden's Ridge, but known around Chattanooga as Signal Mountain, for the town that overlooks the Tennessee River.  A dogwood grew beside the driveway and became our climbing tree.

For a year, I lived in Knoxville for my job and left my mother living in the house on Signal Mountain.  In the Fountain City area of Knoxville, we had a beautiful Japanese cherry tree.  We were on the Dogwood Trail, and each year cars would follow the trail painted on the roads.  Though the people were out to see dogwoods, they stopped in droves to photograph the Japanese cherry tree in our yard.

When I moved back home to Signal Mountain, the red-leafed maple tree I had planted by the driveway was bigger and prettier.  I had moved it from an area where gas lines were laid through the neighborhood a few months later, so it was a special tree that wouldn't have lived if I hadn't moved it.

I lived with a tall crepe myrtle tree from 1987 to 2005.  It always made me think of the pair of crepe myrtles my grandmother had planted, on the same lot with that plum tree (above).

We never did positively identify the tree in our teensy-tiny plot of dirt at Windsor Village apartments, but someone called it a lilac.  Here's the base of the tree, which did have white blooms.  I grew a picture-perfect tomato beside this tree.

The neighborhood had lots of magnolias, and one was in the yard of the house next to mine in St. Elmo.  Its limbs draped over part of my yard, and it was beautiful.

And now, in my latest apartment complex, I have this ornamental cherry tree that I showed you in March (spring has sprung) and early April (feeling foolish).  This is my tree photo; I googled to find the others.

Summary (for myself)
oak (ages 2-3), Main Street
plum (ages 3-8), 5th Avenue
elm (ages 9-18), East 26th Street
pecan (ages 18-19), Meadowbrook Drive
hickory (ages 20-25), Coburn Drive
dogwood (ags 25-39), East Brow Road
Japanese cherry (ages 40-41), Knoxville
maple (ages 42-44), East Brow Road
*** (ages 44-47), Atlanta
crepe myrtle (ages 47-64), Avalon Circle
lilac ??? (ages 65-67), Mountain Creek Road
magnolia (ages 68-71), St. Elmo Avenue
ornamental cherry tree (72+), Hixson Pike
***   The only trees I remember from Atlanta were pulped to make paper for the books I read in seminary, while studying for my master's degree.


bermudaonion said...

I think the tree I remember most vividly was one I won. I was around 8 or 9 years old, my family went to shop some Washington's birthday sales. (This was before President's Day.) The shopping center was having a contest and I won a cherry tree. I was so excited, I could hardly stand it. We took it home and my parents made a big deal out of planting it in the front yard. I loved that tree and would check on it regularly. I hated when we moved and left that tree behind.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

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Robbye said...

Has to be all the trees in my front yard. They mean home to me...pines, maples, magnolia and them all. The pines are HUGE. My yard is truly woodsy with a carpet of needles. Much better to me than a smooth green lawn. In autumn my brick house gleams through a screen of yellow maple leaves and in spring the dogwood blooms lift my heart.

Madge said...

Gardenia trees/bushes.

Sylvia said...

Great blog post. You might know that (almost) all of them are my favorites. I take it you didn't park the car under the pecan during the weeks it was dropping nuts?
Oh, and the cherry in front of your apartment looks like a Kwanzan.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks, Sylvia. I'll have to look up Kwanzan. If you clicked the blog link, I had additional photos there of that tree (back in March). And the tree by the apartment sign is the same kind.

sharonL said...

Mine were hickory (either side of our drive in Penns. Then the Rose of Sharon (believed I was named after it in Penns) now I love my Red Autumn Maple my daughtr & grddaughter planted for me in the front yard here in Chatt 12 yrs ago, and then finally my Red Japanese maple I planted as a twig & is now approx 4' high maybe

J Vogler said...

I love japanese cherry trees and dogwoods too. I grew up in Northern Virginia where there are lots of dogwoods around. My favorite tree is the Texas Mountain Laurel. I have one right outside my front door, and we call it the lollipop tree. Every spring, right at the end of February, all the Mountain Laurels in the area bloom lots of fragrant purple blooms. They are EXTREMELY fragrant, and they smell just like purple koolaid. Unfortunately, they only bloom for a few weeks every year, but it's such a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of spring here in South Texas.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

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Sylvia said...

They have double blossoms, which makes them look like a tree full of little pink pompoms when in full bloom. Nice shape and foliage as well, though.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Sylvia, I did look up Kwanzan cherry tree. If this one has been here since the apartments were built, it may be near the end of its life cycle. I looks healthy, though.

Beth said...

I really love this post, Bonnie. I particularly love the image of you eating the plum while it was still warm from the sun. Lovely.