Recently a client was directed by a design review committee to “save as many trees as possible.” He came to me to ask what was possible. Fortunately there are industry standards to guide us.
If you want to develop property in southern California you need to know the dollar value of your trees. This is true whether you are building senior housing in Oxnard or remodeling your garage in Thousand Oaks. Trees grow slow in the arid west making them precious and valuable. Your mature oak tree might be worth several thousand dollars and if you want to cut it down you will have to pay.
Of the 1517 trees that grow in California how can you pick the best trees for your project? When I started specifying trees in southern California most landscape architects called The Western Garden Book the bible. Today we have something almost as good as divine guidance, we have a searchable data base.
What’s the best tree for your bungalow garden? Based on name alone, the Camperdown Elm has to be in the running for Most Romantic Tree. Feels good just saying it. The weeping branches conjure up visions of a child’s secret garden; safe in its embrace, peering through the leaves, a sanctuary from life’s harsh words and sharp edges.
What’s an heirloom? Something handed down. A watch maybe? A diamond ring? Your grandmother’s old clock, which somebody else broke, and you got blamed for? The thing that defines all heirlooms also distinguishes each one: its story. The story might be simple like who gave what to whom but it’s usually a lot more interesting because heirlooms are a gift of value and an act of love. What’s an heirloom? Something you don’t mess around with especially if somebody else already broke it.
Winter came hard to central Indiana during my fourth grade year. Sometimes that happens. Like the state itself the winter isn’t flashy, it’s solid. I always wanted autumn to fade gracefully into a winter wonderland. Instead it would come with cold November rain, wind and rain that would lash the dead leaves and lay bare a thicket of dark gray trunks and branches.
Grandmother’s Garden. A cozy cottage nestled in Nature’s embrace. Bright flowers lean against the foundations, tree canopies envelop the roof; vines reach for freedom, yet order prevails. Sweet pea. Painted Lady. Canterbury Bells. Four-o’clocks. Jacob’s Ladder. Lamb’s Ear. Where else but an old-fashioned heirloom garden would you find flowers named as vividly as the blooms themselves?