Friday, April 29, 2016

The Maples of Oregon

Boy holding an enormous leaf

I would love to show you a photo of a young boy holding an enormous leaf of the “Oregon maple,” Acer macrophyllum, but it was in our Portland newspaper and therefore the photo is protected under copyright laws. The Oregonian does not freely share even though they have featured me twice for free: once for my “Ghost” series of Japanese maples, and the other for my botanical and horticultural book collection. There would be absolutely no harm in sharing this photo, but I already tip-toe along the nebulous line of plagiarism, and I do so in nearly every blog.

Acer macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose'




























Acer macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose'


Acer macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose' in July


In any case it got me thinking about the three species of Acer native to Oregon: circinatum, macrophyllum and glabrum. I was also prompted by the flowering – for the first time – of the original A. macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose', a chance seedling that I discovered about 13 years ago. No credit should be given to me because it was impossible to miss the strongly pink foliage in a batch of green seedlings that were being grown for rootstock. I've even witnessed truck drivers, on more than one occasion, get out of their smelly cabs to inspect 'Mocha Rose' for it is planted near the loading dock. Maybe its wrong for me to stereotype truck drivers, but they seldom show any interest in our tree collection and what we stuff into their 53' trailers. 'Mocha Rose' is such an unusual color I guess – would salmon-pink be close? My grandfather Gerald's wife, Harriette, was visiting a few years ago, and I pointed out that the selection had no official cultivar name. She suggested Mocha Rose as the rose foliage in spring turns to a light brown. That is an unusual color too, but it has absolutely nothing to do with burning or death.

Acer macrophyllum 'Seattle Sentinel'


I have grown other cultivars of A. macrophyllum, such as 'Seattle Sentinel' and 'Kimballiae', but the USDA zone 6 (-10F) limits sales. Also I think that gardeners fear that the trees will become huge, and it's true that they do. 'Seattle Sentinel' was noticed, named and introduced by Brian Mulligan in 1951, then director of the Washington Park Arboretum. It was found on a street in Seattle, and I hope that it is still there. Please Seattle, help me find it. One of its propagules exists at the west side of the Arboretum near the parking lot of the Japanese Garden.

Acer macrophyllum 'Kimballiae'


Acer macrophyllum 'Kimballiae' is a more bushy form and the leaves are deeply cut to the base. It has been known since 1940 and the original is also in the Washington Park Arboretum.


Acer macrophyllum 'Santiam Snow'

Acer macrophyllum 'Mieke'


We have two variegated (green/white) forms of macrophyllum: 'Santiam Snow' and 'Mieke'. The former was found near the Santiam pass east of Salem, Oregon, and was discovered, named and introduced by Heritage Nursery of Oregon. I bought a few but I have yet to trial them out in the full sun. I blogged about 'Santiam Snow' last summer, and the next day friend and blog reader Dave Kemper was driving home – on a road he has taken thousands of times – when he spotted a variegated branch on a “Big Leaf maple.” He brought in a gnarly portion and we were successful with a few scions. At this point in April the light yellow color has not developed into white. I wonder that if I had not blogged about 'Santiam Snow', would ol' Kemper have ever noticed his variegated tree? It was named for the nick-name of his wife Marieke. Variegated macrophyllums have been known for a long time, and De Beaulieu in An Illustrated Guide to Maples lists 'Variegatium' from 1893 in Germany, and says, “Old specimens of this cultivar progressively lose their coloring.”

Acer macrophyllum 'Golden Riddle'


Not surprisingly there are golden forms of Acer macrophyllum, with Dancing Oaks Nursery of Oregon listing 'Aureum'. I have not seen it and don't know if it can withstand full sun. They also list 'Elynor's' but they have no photo and it is one that I have never heard of before today. I have another golden macrophyllum – 'Golden Riddle' – but it is also in the greenhouse, untested outside. Due to the shady nature of the greenhouse, its outdoor color remains unknown.


























The former champion Acer macrophyllum


Acer macrophyllum is a friendly species that I know well – I have rested in their shade since childhood. I was embarrassed a couple of years ago when the world's champion was toppled in a windstorm.* It was only an hour's drive away from me, but I never knew that the whopper existed there. One Sunday I paid homage to the venerable giant, for it grew along the highway in the town of Jewell, Oregon, population about 100. At first I passed it without notice, but I recruited two mossy denizens for information. They scratched their heads in unison, then called up the town wag. Certainly Flo would know, and indeed she thrice shouted out loud, “It's along the road, right past the school.” I didn't require the boys to repeat, but they did anyway. I easily found it...sadly lying in the weeds, not so great anymore.

*The current national champion is located in Marion, Oregon. Its circumference is 25.4' (7.7m) and is 88' (27m) tall with a crown-spread of 104' (32m). Marion is not far from the location of the 'Santiam Snow' discovery'. This spring I will make a trip to Marion in an attempt to make amends for being late to the Jewell tree.

Acer macrophyllum 'Jewell'

Acer macrophyllum 'Holznagel Tree'


There are a number of impressive macs in the area of soggy Jewell, which is about 20 miles from the ocean and receives double the rain as my nursery. Sometimes they stand alone in a pasture, other times they hover over a two-story house. Just outside of town is the Holznagel tree, nicely fenced off. I don't know anything about H. or why a huge tree bears his name, and I didn't want to trouble Flo with more questions. Anyway the tree is certainly older than anyone in town, and it exists grandly no matter its name.


Archibald Menzies
David Douglas
The Acer macrophyllum species was first scientifically described by Archibald Menzies of the Vancouver expedition. Seed was later collected by Lewis and Clark, and in 1826 David Douglas introduced it to England. Hillier describes it as “A large tree with handsome, very large, shining, dark green leaves, which turn a bright orange in autumn.” I have never seen the bright orange color; in Oregon it can turn a fantastic yellow though. The major freeway west of Portland (Hwy 26) features a two-mile stretch of woods that is dominated by Acer macrophyllum with their yellow precocious spring blossoms and dramatic fall color. Then one enters into a long tunnel where the kids sing “Flamingooooooooo”...and then you are suddenly in Portland.


























Acer macrophyllum


Acer macrophyllum


Polypodium glycyrrhiza
Polystichum munitum



























While the route into Portland is awesome – a word I rarely use – I think my favorite location to wander among the macrophyllums is on Washington's Olympic Peninsula at the Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest. A loop trail of about one mile is full of maples – circinatum and macrophyllum – and they are fantastically festooned with moss and ferns. The fern in the photo above is the “western sword fern,” Polystichum munitum, and it happily thrives on the moisture of the maple's bark. In dryer areas like the Columbia River Gorge, the macrophyllums host the “Licorice fern,” Polypodium glycyrrhiza.* You can easily pull a piece from the tree, then you clean the roots and nibble at them. You just nibble, and don't eat, and your taste buds will indulge in a strong licorice flavor that lasts for a few minutes. It is sad to ponder that the vast majority of Oregonians don't know about the treats in the woods, but I was sure to pass along the experience to my children, just as my father did for me.

*The genus name Polypodium is from Greek polypodiun for poly – “many” or “more” and pod pous – “foot.” Glycyrrhiza is from Greek glukurrhiza meaning “sweetroot,” as glukkus means “sweet” and rhiza means “root.” The candy known as licorice is made from Glycyrrhiza glabra, an herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and Asia. Licorice extracts are used in herbal and folk medications, and the Chinese considered it to be a stimulant; excessive consumption, however, can lead to adverse effects, so don't let your kids get carried away with the black ropes.



























Acer circinatum


Acer circinatum received its specific name from Latin for “circular,” referring to the round-leaf shape. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to California, and in places the “Vine maples” can grow in impenetrable stands. I have seen forests – with circinatum as an understory – ravaged by forest fire. Everything is burned to the ground, but the vine maples quickly resprout. During the summer the leaves are a preferred browse for deer and elk, while squirrels and chipmunks eat the leaves and seeds. We must trap for squirrels at the nursery because at night they can eat a good number of Japanese maple one-year grafts; that are already sold, I might add. A. circinatum is in the palmata Section along with A. shirasawanum, A. japonicum and A. palmatum, and they can all be used interchangeably when grafting. I found it curious that Vertrees in Japanese Maples included the circinatums even though they are not “native” to Japan. His reason: “Although Acer circinatum is not a Japanese maple, it is included here for comparative purposes because it is a close relative of the Japanese species...” Masayoshi Yano in Book for Maples resists the temptation. Vertrees continues by suggesting that a land bridge “connecting Alaska with east Asia allowed plants and animals to migrate between the two continents.”




















Acer circinatum 'Monroe'


Acer circinatum 'Burgundy Jewel'


There are a number of circinatum cultivars, but oddly the 2014 Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs lists only 'Monroe' which was found in the Willamette National Forest, Oregon in 1960. Somebody dumbly named it 'Monroe' for the finder Warner Monroe, a college professor of philosophy. My largest specimen is planted at the edge of the woods down by the creek, and it measure about 15' tall by 15' wide. Back to Hillier, the Manual is like a bible for me, but my main gripe is how the English can be so insular, kind of like the Chinese who assume that they are at the center of the Earth. Hillier's list (2014) of palmatum cultivars contains 'Dissectum Nigrum', 'Dissectum Ornatum', 'Dissectum Palmatifidum' and 'Dissectum Variegatum', most of which no one grows anymore. It would have been easy to copy from the Vertrees/Gregory 4th edition. I was surprised that Acer circinatum 'Burgundy Jewel' was not included. I was one of the first to grow it and I sent it to England (Junker Nursery) a long time ago. It was even featured in The Garden, a monthly publication from the Royal Horticultural Society. 'Burgundy Jewel' was discovered by Gordy Halgren of Peacedale Nursery in Washington state, not in Oregon as stated by the Vertrees/Gregory book. We grow ours in full sun, as in shade the leaves remain greenish. It is a stout, vigorous cultivar which we propagate onto palmatum rootstock.


Acer circinatum 'Little Gem'

Acer circinatum 'Little Gem'


The first Vine maple cultivar that I acquired was 'Little Gem' which was discovered as a witch's broom mutation in Stanley Park, Vancouver B.C. by plantsman Alleyne Cook. He found at least one other mutation which simply went by the name 'Alleyne Cook'. I never met the man, but I bought a portion of his book collection, and inside of one of E.H. Wilson's books was a photo of Mr. Cook with a pretty girl. I wondered if she was his wife, or ?, but why was it hiding in an old plant book? Back to 'Little Gem', be sure to give it plenty of room. My 35-year-old specimen is planted in the Blue Forest, and it is now 7' tall by 12' wide, and yes it bulges into the road. I fear for its safety from the aforementioned knucklehead truck divers.




















Acer circinatum 'Sunglow'






















Acer circinatum 'Sunny Sister'


I suppose my best circinatum introduction is 'Sunglow'. Peter Gregory concludes his description of it, “It is very different from any other A. circinatum cultivar and is highly desirable.” Well, thank you Mr. Gregory, but there are six others much like it. Seven dwarf seedlings were discovered by the late Floyd McMullen of Portland, Oregon. He never named them, but I have two of the originals, so I introduced 'Sunglow' and 'Sunny Sister'. I never met Mr. McMullen, but he gave his seedlings away, two of them going to my Grandfather Gerald. I have never seen the remaining five, nor know where they are. 'Sunny Sister' is the more vigorous of the two, growing at about twice the rate of 'Sunglow', and the former withstands summer heat better as well. Every year 'Sunglow's' coloration is different, depending on how soon it gets hot, and I must confess that it can look dreadful by August – since mine is in full sun. I don't grow many 'Sunglows' anymore because they are susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungus named Podosphaera xanthii. I have read that milk, diluted with water at 1:10, is effective in the management of mildew, and it can be sprayed on the leaves at the first sign of infection, or as a preventative. Maybe I should get a cow.

Acer circinatum 'Baby Buttons'


Acer circinatum 'Baby Buttons'


The tiniest circinatum of all is 'Baby Buttons'; and ok, maybe it is the best of my Vine maple introductions. It too was of witch's broom origin, and its leaves are often only a half inch in diameter. As with 'Little Gem' and 'Sunglow', 'Baby Buttons' will be more vigorous in a greenhouse, leading the first-time visitor to conclude that it's not so dwarf after all. But plant one out and you will see. Our first propagated plants (about 2008) are only 18” tall by 18” wide, and they receive fertilizer. A cute specimen resides in a pot at the Rhododendron Species Foundation in Federal Way, Washington, gracing the front of the conservatory. At the nursery the plants are lushly green at the end of this April, and I pray that a late frost won't ruin the fun.

Acer circinatum at low elevation
Acer circinatum near summit



























Acer circinatum is perhaps most famous for its vibrant autumn color, although in some countries – like England – they do not have the correct conditions for it to perform at its peak. The same can be said for the “Sugar maple,” Acer saccharum, which is largely a non-event in England. The fall color on circinatum can range from straw-yellow to orange, red and purple. A hike up Hamilton Mountain on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge illustrates the variation of color. At the bottom of the mountain the vines exist in lush soil conditions, especially along the stream. Their autumn color is a rich yellow. As one ascends, near the top the boney soil is more sparse in nutrients, and the circinatums glow with orange to red.
































Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii at low elevations


Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii at summit


The same can be said with our final Oregon maple species, Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii. In lush conditions fall color will be yellow, but higher up on sparse soil the fall color is orange-to-red. This variation is most evident on Silver Star Mountain in Washington state. I have one tree in the collection at Flora Farm, and I planted it there out of a sense of obligation, that maple-man Buchholz should have all three of the Northwest species on his property, and it stands at the edge of the woods...and is totally unnoticeable. I know of no cultivars of glabrum, and I feel that most of the plant world wouldn't care if it disappeared altogether.

Acer glabrum ssp. douglasii


Amelanchier alnifolia
Amelanchier alnifolia
Acer glabrum is native to western North America, but it has a large range that extends east to Nebraska and south to Arizona and New Mexico. There are a number of varieties or subspecies, and I have never understood the distinction between those two botanical terms. In any case Acer glabrum var. glabrum is the “Rocky Mountain maple,” but then so is Acer glabrum var. diffusum. Acer glabrum var. or ssp. torreyi is endemic to northern California. Acer glabrum var. or ssp. neomexicanum is native to New Mexico. You won't be tested on the above because neither of us knows anything about them, and all I have seen is ssp. douglasii which comes from Oregon and Washington and was seen by David Douglas. I don't really champion Acer glabrum as a landscape plant, but the shoots and seedlings can be collected and eaten fresh or cooked like asparagus. The “Douglas maple” was used by Native Americans to cure nausea, and the wood and bark were combined with Amelanchier alnifolia to improve the healing process of a woman following childbirth, and also used to increase lactation. That won't be of any benefit to me of course, and I'll remain content with my one specimen at the edge of the woods.

Saya at Wahkeena Falls


Attractive females are welcome to visit me in spring, summer or fall, and I can lead you to a place above Wahkeena Falls in the Columbia River Gorge where all three of Oregon's native maples thrive, literally touching leaf to leaf. To my knowledge they never hybridize, with circinatum in the section Palmata, macrophyllum in the section Lithocarpa, and glabrum in the section Glabra. All three are beautiful at their time, just as Wahkeena was known as a beautiful Indian maiden. All said, I wish to live in no other state more than Oregon.




Talon, you don't have to worry about showing the young boy with his huge maple leaf. I, I gave him the leaf, and I can depict whatever I want. Copyright laws do not apply to me.




Friday, April 15, 2016

My Disorganized Garden


The Blue Forest


I have a two acre garden called the Blue Forest, where once every plant was a blue, or bluish, conifer. I eventually tired of it and proceeded to plant other colors, and now I like it much better. No garden has to be organized around a theme, just as our lives don't necessarily have to be lived with a guiding purpose...well, other than food and sex. Sometimes a plant collection – ranging in size from a small home-owner's plot to a huge arboretum – attempts a theme, such as the “state” trail through Portland, Oregon's Hoyt Arboretum, where California was represented by its native Sequoiadendron and Washington by Tsuga heterophylla etc. I haven't been on that trail for years, but I thought it was an interesting concept, and no doubt they copied it from somewhere else.
























The Hoyt Arboretum


The Hoyt once had a director who proposed that the couple-hundred-acre collection should be entirely rearranged, so that you would have a Himalayan section, an Australian section and a South American section and so on. Since the Hoyt is owned by the city of Portland, he was an official government employee, one of a perplexing group who proposes grand schemes regardless if money is available or not.* It is not, really not. Some of the native conifers are a hundred years old, the Sequoiadendron have calipers of four feet and the old Pinus bungeana has a girth of canopy making it impossible to dig and move. It seemed like this public employee had no grasp on the concept of financial prioritizing, so hey: just float a bond measure.

*The debt for the city of Portland is nearly four billion dollars...and growing, and no one seems to care. The same attitude exists at the state level, and do you really think that Obama loses one wink of sleep over our staggering national debt?

Scilla peruviana var. hughii


Scilla peruviana


My own plant collection is as “disorganized” as anyone's, with the only theme being that I plant what I like, and hope to make money from some of them. Recently I bought a Scilla peruviana var. hughii which features white blossoms, but I have no intention to propagate and sell any. I just wanted a companion for my blue-flowered S. peruviana, so I was thinking about the plant more than myself I guess.

The Long Road Section at Buchholz Nursery

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Aurea'


To illustrate how disorganized my collection is, let's take a walk up the path in our Long Road section, a narrow rectangle at 385' in length and 40' in width. The anchor-tree at the west end is Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Aurea'. It was once considered a “slow-growing dwarf conifer,” but my 36-year-old specimen is already over 40' with four main trunks, all well over a foot in diameter.























Picea orientalis 'Aureospicata'


The Cryptomeria vies in height with a Picea orientalis 'Aureospicata', and both are about the same age. The Picea is from northern Turkey and the Caucasus region, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. This area lies between the artificial boundary of Europe and Asia, and of course it defines pasty white guys like me.































Davidia involucrata 'White Dust'


Within a few steps of these two conifers is Davidia involucrata 'White Dust', a cultivar which was gifted to me by Akira Shibamichi of Japan. Shee ba mee chee – with a last name like that you don't really need a first name. Actually he has sent to me a number of quality new plants, and it's not because he thinks so highly of me, but rather because he was fascinated with my charming wife who is quite adept at flirting with older men. The variegation on 'White Dust' does not impress me greatly – white spots on green leaves – but the reddish new growth is quite nice.

























Magnolia 'Kiki's Broom'


Kiki
Near the three previous trees is Magnolia 'Kiki's Broom', a slow-growing bushy selection that originated as a witch's broom mutation. The flowers appear to be that of a M. x soulangeana, and though smaller, they bloom prolifically atop the tree. I was originally given scions of it by Greg Williams of Vermont, but I believe that he discovered it in a warmer state. Mr. Williams became reclusive and it is nearly impossible to communicate with him. After growing the plant for years I finally propagated it, and had to call it something. Kiki was a cute animated girl from Japan who flew from adventure to adventure on a broom in Hayao Miyazaki's 1989 movie, Kiki's Delivery Service. Adults will enjoy this film as much as children, and I can guarantee that it is more fun than reading my blog.































Enkianthus campanulatus 'Showy Lantern'


So far I've discussed four trees hodge-podged in close proximity, but their only connection is that I make a living by selling their progeny. A nearby tree that I don't propagate anymore is Enkianthus campanulatus 'Showy Lantern', and that is because you stopped buying them. That's a shame, for it is a very beautiful shrub with its red-bell flowers in spring and spectacular autumn foliage. My specimen is eight feet tall and only four feet wide and it fits nicely amongst the maples and conifers, never demanding any care or attention.






























Parrotia persica 'Vanessa'


Parrotia persica 'Persian Spire'




Ginkgo biloba 'Blue Cloud'
Two Parrotia persicas are in the Long Road section, 'Vanessa' and 'Persian Spire'. 'Vanessa' is considered the “columnar ironwood,” so it makes a good choice for smaller landscapes or near streets. While I still have one in the collection we don't propagate it anymore, and the reason is because 'Persian Spire' is far more narrow. It was discovered by John Lewis of JLPN Nursery from Salem, Oregon, and since it is patented I can only buy my starts from him. There's no incentive in him allowing me to propagate, and then pay the fees because my sales are too small to deal with the extra paperwork. I mention it because that situation affects the small nurseryman, that we're not large enough players to buy growing rights, and we're also too small to patent our own stuff like my blue Ginkgo.


Magnolia x 'Vulcan'


But back to the trail. Magnolia x 'Vulcan' was more spectacular this year than any before. The tree is about twenty years old and it produced hundreds of blossoms...which are now littering the ground, but it was fun while it lasted. 'Vulcan' was a hybrid of Magnolia campbellii ssp. mollicomata 'Lanarth' with M. liliiflora, and it is a sister to M. 'Apollo', another excellent selection. The Jurys of New Zealand are responsible for the hybrids, and the next generation is continuing the work. The only problem with them is the use of M. campbellii which is native to the lower elevations in Nepal, India, Bhutan and southwest China. In one out of every four or five years in Oregon the buds will blacken from a hard frost, but that's a small price to pay for a tree of such great beauty.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Harumi'


A nice Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Harumi' is in the Long Road. It originated as a cream-white mutation on the green C.o. 'Tsatsumi', and displays 'Tsatsumi's' thread-like foliage. It's not unusual to find these, but that doesn't guarantee that they will grow into stably-variegated plants. Harumi means “spring beauty” in Japanese, and I named it before I had any clue that I would marry a Japanese woman. I first encountered the name in the travelogue Pictures from the Water Trade, an evocative and at times erotic story about a Westerner's discovery of Japan. Haruko and I named our first child Harumi Claire, so if she grew up and didn't like the Japanese name she could go by Claire. Whenever I walk past the 'Harumi' hinoki I'm amazed about how the stars lined up so that I would have a daughter with the same name.

























Acer palmatum 'Jiro shidare'


Acer palmatum 'Jiro shidare' was small when I planted it twenty years ago. I staked it for height, but for many years it looked ridiculous at best. Even though it was planted along our main road, I more or less forgot about it. Then one spring plantsman Don Shadow visited and enthused about the wonderful weeping maple by the road, but I didn't know what he was talking about. I went out with him and my gangly 'Jiro shidare' had blossomed into a real beauty, just as some skinny girls do. It's embarrassing to admit that I didn't notice her earlier, that it took a Tennessee nurseryman to point her out...on my property. 'Jiro shidare' was selected in Saitama Prefecture in 1968. Shidare means “cascading” while jiro refers to a “second son” (taro is “first son”). In the Vertrees/Gregory Japanese Maples it says that jiro means “white.” But not so, for shiro means “white.” By the way The Washington Post reviewed Vertrees' first edition, calling it “the ultimate book about the aristocrat of trees.” But there's no “ultimate” reference book, for it was already out of date when it was printed. It's a very useful book though.




























Fagus sylvatica 'Purple Fountain


The Long Road contains an old specimen of Fagus sylvatica 'Purple Fountain'. After an initial stake, the cultivar will continue skyward on its own. Interestingly it does not remain balanced, for the north side is flat to the trunk while the sun-seeking south side stretches out. 'Purple Fountain' was raised from a seedling of 'Purpurea Pendula' in The Netherlands in about 1975. Even in the trade today, 'Purpurea Pendula' can be mixed up with 'Purple Fountain'. The former must be staked to develop height while the latter will do it on its own, but must be given adequate space in a larger garden or arboretum. Notice that the Dutch selection was not given a Dutch name, but rather an English name, and they usually do that as a European and American marketing ploy. Holland is all about the money, in fact it is said that copper wire was invented by two Dutchmen fighting over a penny.

Acer palmatum 'Spring Delight'

Acer palmatum 'Spring Delight'


Geisha
Acer palmatum 'Spring Delight' has surprised me. I planted it as a 3-gallon pot with a one-foot spread about twenty years ago. For some reason it never gained any height like most that I grow. Now it is one foot tall by almost ten feet wide. At some point I'll have to prune to keep it from crossing the path. I am an “expert” on many plants, especially those that I introduce, but I continually find evidence that I don't really know what I am doing. I appear to be size-challenged, under-predicting how large a plant will get, and how quickly it will do so. There is nothing wrong with the older green laceleafs like 'Viridis' and 'Waterfall' etc., but 'Spring Delight' features leaves that are noticeably edged in red on the new growth. It is an added bonus to what is already a pleasing color. Similarly, a Japanese geisha is an attractive woman with a certain skill or talent – a gei – for singing or playing a musical instrument or in conversation, and not just merely a pretty girl. It seems that 'Spring Delight' spontaneously originated, suddenly it was at my nursery and I frankly don't remember what I used as a mother tree for the seedling selection. I only remember that I was so busy building my nursery in my thirties that I had no time for details of its history, and I regret that much has been lost.

There, I have demonstrated that my garden has no theme, no organized principle, and that I just plant what I like. But everything in the Long Road section is beautiful, except probably not for the meth addicts and criminals in the neighborhood. I love it when plantspeople see the nursery for the first time, especially like now in the spring when everything is so fresh and vibrant.

Back to the state trail concept, the following is a list of some states with their government-approved tree, and the year it was officially decreed:

Pseudotsuga menziesii
Acer saccharum































Taxodium distichum
Picea pungens





























Oregon 1939 Pseudotsuga menziesii
Alaska 1962 Picea sitchensis
Idaho 1935 Pinus monticola
Vermont 1949 Acer saccharum
New York 1956 Acer saccharum
Come on New York – you shouldn't copy another state!
Maine 1945 Pinus strobus
Michigan 1955 Pinus strobus
Ditto.
Montana 1949 Pinus ponderosa
Iowa 1961 Quercus rubra
Colorado 1939 Picea pungens
Louisiana 1963 Taxodium distichum
North Carolina 1963 Pine tree – no species given, although there are eight of them. The “Tar Heel State” name is due to the production of tar, pitch, rosin and turpentine during the Colonial era.

Pinus sylvestris
Araucaria araucana































Quercus suber
Olea europaea





























While we're at it, the following lists some national trees:
Chile – Araucaria araucana
England – Quercus robur
North Korea – Pinus koraiensis (if there are any left)
Lebanon – Cedrus libani
Nepal – Rhododendron – no species, but there are many.
Pakistan – Cedrus deodara
Portugal – Quercus suber
Scotland – Pinus sylvestris
Vietnam – Bamboo
France – None
Switzerland – None
Sweden – Betula pendula 'Dalecarlica'
Greece – Olea europaea
Greece bird – Phoenix
Greece animal – Dolphin
United States – Quercus – No species indicated, but in April 2001 on National Arbor Day votes were cast and Quercus received 101,000 and Sequoiadendron giganteum came in second with 81,000. I don't recall receiving a ballot.


"Why do you need a theme? Look, Talon, you must remember that I have bestowed all
plant life upon you. Beware: I giveth but I can taketh away."