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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Arbor Day Foundation

The National Arbor Day Foundation was created to promote a love of trees and the environment. I find it ridiculous that they need to do this but then I was a miserable little country girl living in Manhattan without even a blade of grass to look at through my living room window. It wasn’t until I moved to what I thought was the country, namely Long Island, that I breathed a sigh of relief. I finally got to see green! Trees, flowers, shrubs were all around my new home. I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t need anybody telling me that green things were good for me. I just knew it. But I realize that others aren’t so lucky to just know this and that’s why the National Arbor Day folks need to come in and spread the word that green is good.

When we first acquired our four acre plot of earth, my husband Tommy set aside two acres for his arboretum. Oh, yes, you got that right. We planted an arboretum in our front yard. It is a wonderfully diverse collection of trees most of which we acquired from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Some are common, some are not so common but all are healthy, well-established trees which beautify our yard immensely.

I remember back those seventeen years when we first planted what our friends called dead sticks. Yes, they did indeed look like dead sticks barely three feet tall at the time and our friends laughed themselves silly but they no longer laugh. Our trees tower well over our heads now.

The National Arbor Day Foundation helped us in our quest for the perfect trees to include in our Arboretum. Their Book Of Trees was my Tommy’s bible during the planting season. He carried it around with him and paced out exactly where he was to plant every single tree we bought. Spacing them just right was very important for us. After building our farmhouse we didn’t have much money to spend on anything so to the rescue came the National Arbor Day Foundation with its low-priced, well-grown and varied collection.

The book was very informative. It told us the tree’s structure, size at maturity, whether it grows quickly or slowly and what it requires by way of planting zones, soil, watering needs and sun exposure plus what color to expect the leaves to turn into in the Autumn. You simply couldn’t make a mistake with this book in hand. We dutifully searched the book for trees that weren’t readily seen in our Pocono Mountain forests. We wanted a collection rivaling such arboretums as the famous Planters fields on Long Island and Morris Arboretum in Pennsylvania. For amateurs we did pretty good.

Even if you are not as ambitious as we were and you don’t need dozens of trees give the National Arbor Day Foundation a try. If nothing else you might learn something new and that’s always a good thing. Who knows? They might just encourage you to plant a tree or shrub for your landscape. They do have shrubs as well. Your home will thank you. The birds and other creatures will thank you. Mother Nature will thank you. Heck, even I’ll thank you. Planting a tree is the best thing you could do for your Mother Earth. Didn’t you know that? Well, now you do.

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