Plants - Trees and Shrubs

The politics of gardening: Our love of trees

By
Katharine Fletcher

Felling a beloved neighbourhood tree triggers important reflections


Family ties
It will be no surprise to learn this couple have family connections with trees spanning generations. An Italian immigrant, Pietropaolo recalls olive orchards in the Old Country. Meanwhile, their Toronto garden is graced with black walnut, apple, apricot, cherry, mulberry, plum, pear and other trees. They have fond memories of his father lovingly caring for a fig tree which demanded special protection each fall to survive our Canadian winter.
Today, the couple’s three daughters share their appreciation of trees. Every autumn, the family spends time together harvesting, then preserving the fruits, and making mulberry wine—or vinegar, as happened one year.

Reality strikes
However, reality rings her bell: trees cannot live forever. Advanced age, dangerously positioned limbs or infiltrating roots can mean they require felling or trimming before they endanger property (cars, fences, houses, garages).

How can we sensibly incorporate trees into our lives, remain enriched by their presence, and increase our intangible-but-crucial spiritual wellbeing?

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