Patti Crimer

2021 Fall Journal

Trees are Nature’s Love to Humankind

My love began to develop with the apple tree that bore fruit. It was a young tree and I also was a young exploring child.  It was my tree and provided me with apples to toss across the fence to the neighbor boys who were antagonistic. Some apples would fall from the tree into their yard and this was where the game started.  The apple tree was my special place to go—I would climb up into it as high as I could where no one else would dare. It also provided me with a tree swing by merely hanging a rope from the branches. As I grew it grew and eventually it outgrew the backyard, just as I did.

I had to move on to another choice –and found the love of the weeping willow trees by the lakes by my Michigan home to be inviting. I knew they could do all that the apple tree could do and more except fruit. I loved swinging and just watching the wind catch the branches and the leaves and gently swaying them. When I moved to a house in Downers Grove, I planted some willow trees. They were a valuable natural way to absorb the unnecessary water that would accumulate in a low area of the garden. It was a sweet site to see the snow pile on the branches in the winter. I remembered the saying, “Willow will not break under weight of snow”. I liked the motto and began using it as I grew older with the willow trees. As age might have it, I needed to leave the willow trees and find a smaller garden to tend.

That is where I found another tree to love and grow. This young tree was so small that it had a stake and wire holding it up as not to be blown down by the wind or snow.  It was the perfect tree for me to watch from the inside of the house and plant what I thought would be compatible with my other loves, several plants to attract butterflies. As I was aging and growing with wisdom, I knew gardens evolve and change. I planned my plantings around my young tree– simple plantings such as Hosta, flowering ground cover, and Rudbeckia all which the butterflies enjoy.

As the years passed, my tree needed a treatment to save it from the dreaded Emerald Ash borer disease which was wiping out most all the ash trees in the area. There was no guarantee that this would be the solution to save the tree, however the treatment was started. Every two years the Ash tree has been treated. It has managed to thrive. A few years back, a large branch was removed— it had a split in the branch near the trunk which would cause more problems for the tree. The past summer my Ash tree needed trimming of old wood. It was done by a tree expert who could climb up high and trim as he was climbing from branch to branch. This was wonderful for my tree and my garden was not damaged with other equipment. It may someday be the oldest Ash tree in the neighborhood, or even Chicagoland. But for now, we are both getting older together and surviving the challenges of nature.

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