This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three marvelous tree oddities

I passed this tree while driving down Stein Rd off Whitmore Lake Rd.  Creepiest looking apple tree I've ever seen. The resident told me that she had been informed that this was "the oldest" apple tree in Michigan by another passing forester. It's not an impossible idea: the two "bottoms" of the tree are rooted, so, if you use your imagination to fill in the large gap, you can see it once had a massive trunk.

Here's a very queer looking beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) growing in Ann Arbor west of town. It is one of a small grove of beech oddities. The person who developed the property was an avid collector of woody plants and left behind an entire box of neatly-typed notes of his acquisitions. There's an example of his notes (with address information redacted) at the bottom of this post.

I admit this one isn't quite as remarkable, but this is what my lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) looked like this spring. What a cool tree. I saw a few others in town this spring that displayed the same marvelous shredding. Why isn't this more common in commerce? Probably because it is slow to grow and does not provide as full a screen as, say, a blue spruce. There were several comely specimens once in Nichols Arboretum. They died. I don't know why. But I'm certain they were well over 30 years old, and surely provided more usefulness than your common austrian pine or blue spruce.

Ooh, interesting fact from Wikipedia: the species is native to the mountains of China, but . . wait for it . . it has naturalized in the Sierra de la Ventana of eastern Argentina. Sounds exotic. Who wants to visit with me?
To the right: the first page in a whole box of records of woody plant acquisitions.


  1. Welcome back! I've been waiting all winter for another post. BTW, really impressed with the notes taken by the collector. Even more impressed with the prices of trees back then.

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