Ulmus americana

American Elm
ULMACEAE, The Elm family

Homage to an old Elm. On my bike ride home I come down a hill near my house and pass under this giant tree. The crown at least 60 feet across, it covers an entire intersection, shading and cooling the air, creating a world within. Welcome.

Planting a (huge) tree requires a leap of faith, a certain amount of planning and/or spontaneity and perhaps naiveté. I think this almost every time I see a venerable tree. It is such a journey to embark upon, a weighty decision, a little like having a child. Maybe that’s why most people do it with out really fully understanding what they’re getting in to. Who would do it if they fully considered its implications? (We could get into a discussion on responsibility, self-determination and fate.) Birds do. Squirrels do it. Why do you think so many trees grow along fence lines?

People take for granted that it won’t be them to care for the tree and see it grow large. If they think that far, that is. A lot of people buy a tree and plant it, never reading the tag, never asking how large it is expected to grow. I thank the tree that shades my home; no one would have ever purposely planted it in the excellent spot that it lives.

There is a word that refers to a tree that grows in a clearing or alone in a field so it can reach it’s full size and shape; a single specimen. I can’t remember the word..

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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