Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SOLSC #7: The Tree Whisperer

"Life is a river of stories." Kim Stafford, The Muses Among Us
More trees?
Slowly we are settling into a pattern of warmer days.  The sun comes up earlier in the morning and stays with us a little longer each day.  Having been an unusually warm winter for us, it is not surprising to see signs of spring already appearing.  The birds are already chirping happily when I step outside for the first breathe of outdoor air in the morning.  The crocuses have already opened in our flowerbeds and the tulips are beginning to peek out from their winter slumber.

My husband, Jeff, has already been preparing for spring.  His preparation actually began last fall when he went around trimming trees in need of a little pruning.  Sine then he has been watching the trees for signs of life.  As soon as the warmer air arrived he was wandering around our yard to be sure the deer, who find the trees perfect for scratching their antlers, hadn't caused too much damage to his small trees and weeping willow.   The deer are not his only problem.  Our cat, much to my husband's displeasure, likes to use the trees for a scratching post.  Every kid who comes to visit knows not to pull the branches off a tree.  We know not to grab a stick for the bonfire, hit a branch as we mow, or hang anything too heavy from their delicate branches.

Jeff is a little particular about his trees.  You see, my husband is a tree whisperer.  Every spring he spends forever going around the yard tending to the trees.  Every summer he carefully watches the trees for signs of beetles and other insect invasion.  He acts quickly to defend his trees.  He has to be sure they are probably watered and fertilized.  In our house one doesn't throw a banana peel away, it is taken to the tree and placed carefully near the trunk so the roots will eventually receive its nutrients.

If you come to visit our house in the spring or summer it is quite likely you will get a walking tree tour.  Not only will you learn about the trees that scatter our lot, but you will also learn the history of the tree.  You see every tree in our yard has a story.  There are trees planted when the kids were little, trees planted on Father's Day, and trees planted in honor of birthdays.  You will hear about the quest for the Buckeye tree (because every Ohio family should have one of those).  As well as the tale of the Ginkgo tree.

There is constantly a tree that needs to be added to the Mere arboretum.  In the spring he shops for the tree he must add to his collection.  He is always on the lookout for something unusual to complement his growing collection.  In the summer he looks for trees that might accent the flowerbeds. In the fall he begins his quest for fruit trees being clearance priced to add to his mini-orchard.  If you are looking for a gift, a tree is the gift that keeps on giving.  There is always room for more trees because my husband is a tree whisperer.  I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. I love the idea of a tree whisperer. I've been thinking about a post on trees. Do you know the poem, "Simile: Willow and Gingko by Eve Merriam"? It's a great one for your tree lover husband. My favorite line in your post "...the tulips are beginning to peek out from their winter slumber." Lovely post, Cathy!

  2. Great post Cathy. I can picture Jeff and the love with which he treats his trees. Actually, the way he treats anyone he knows and meets.

  3. My husband is definitely a gardener, but I never would have thought of the term "tree whisperer." I love it! I like the banana peel detail, and the way you included hints of the some of his tree whispering stories!

  4. I really enjoyed this post, Cathy. I have taken this tour and I really enjoyed it. My 8th grade English teacher brother-in-law is a good guy.

  5. Cathy, I really like this post about Jeff and his trees. I am a tree lover as well, we bought our house partially because of the mature trees. We could have used Jeff this fall when 100s of Ash trees were cut down because of beetles. We are getting new trees but it will be many years before the neighborhood isn't so bare.

    I love the idea of giving trees as gifts. What a great reminder of occasions in life.

  6. I love this slice and only wish you lived closer to central IL so your husband could come teach me. :)

  7. Very fun. I bet your yard is amazing!


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