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Zelkova Serrata or Japanese Zelkova, at Borough Hall
in Metuchen, New Jersey. (USDA Growing Zone 6)

A Tree Grower's Diary
Photographs and text by Julie Walton Shaver

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Thanksgiving Tree

Our Thanksgiving table was adorned with a tree Gregory made in Sunday School last week. On several leaves were Bible verses, which we read during dinner. Gregory was very proud of his tree, and the fact that it was his work that graced our table. He listened attentively while we read the verses, and this started a discussion of Moses and how he led the people out of Israel.

We don't often talk about the Bible during dinner.

So on this Thanksgiving, I am thankful to "Miss Lisa," Gregory's Sunday School teacher, for giving us something to talk about during dinner besides SpongeBob.

I am also thankful for honey baked ham. (She said, patting her tummy with a silly grin.)

Lisa in Burlington, Ontario, writes: Julie, just wanted to wish you and your family a most blessed and peaceful thanksgiving. Hope you had an extra slice of ham for me, wink.
Photograph of the day.
7:55 pm | link 

Friday, November 17, 2006

These Photographs Keep Me Alive

Puddle at the street corner. End of fall. I'm sad.

Aristocrat pear: they said she'd be red.

Dogwood's last day.

October Glory falling with the rain.

Japanese red maple: singing for spring! WOO!

Keep watching this space for the fall slide show. Let's hope I get it done in time for the dogwood Easter watch. (Little Miss Japanese red maple is not the only one singing for spring.)
Photograph of the week.
12:23 am | link 

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Red Sunset Red CAR!

After six years of driving the stereotypical soccer mom beige minivan, I've finally broken free from the mold with my brand new Red Sunset 4x4! (I'm calling it that because it's almost exactly the same color as my Red Sunset red maple right now.)

Well, ok, maybe the tree's a little brighter! WOW!!

Hmm, I wonder... If there was a stereotypical car for tree lovers, what would it look like? Hmm...

Upon serious introspection about that, I've decided the stereotypical tree lover's car would have legs for tires. Call me a renegade. No more stereotype for me!

Lisa in Burlington, Ontario, writes: Okay, I'm jealous on two counts. First, you still have leaves and they are gorgeous. That red is a showstopper. We have lost all our leaves and the bare branches are all ready for a beautiful blanket of white snow (I'm not). Which brings me to my second reason for jealousy. I can't believe that it was warm enough in the month of November for your son to be able to wear shorts. Turtleneck and woolies here. P.S. Congratulations on your new car!!!
Photograph of the week.
1:14 am | link 

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ooooh, A New Project is in the Works!

So I've been taking a lot of foliage pictures, but haven't been posting much. Why? I'm working on a new slide show! It's going to be great, so stay tuned! I'll let you know when it's up. In the meantime, I might post a sneak peak now and then. Today, my dogwood takes the prize. That tree just keeps on giving, huh?
Photograph of the week.
1:37 am | link 

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Zelkova in the Street Light

There's a rain storm coming; two inches by tomorrow night. Blah. I figure I better get out and get all my fall leaf pictures today! I know I need to go vote, but I do have my priorities. The zelkova trees down at borough hall are pretty, especially in the light of the orange street light.
Photograph of the week.
11:25 am | link 

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Linden: Still Going, but Not Gone

The Greenspire Linden still has leaves though the majority have fallen by now. (Come a good wind and that'd be that.)

Remember my post back in August about the first sign of fall? Well, I now believe the sporadic yellow leaves back then were a sign of stress, and not necessarily the technical definition of the autumn color change.

On the other hand, it's fairly typical for this tree to be the first in my yard to start turning, so what do I know?

Still haven't done anything about her girdling roots. What I have learned in THAT process is that it isn't so easy to get a certified arborist to come to my house. Seems none of the ones I called have any interest in me writing about them on my tree blog. Now why would that be? I'm a fair person, and I have a sick tree. A REAL tree lover would come help my poor tree regardless of what I might write. A really GOOD certified arborist would do the job well, and be given international exposure and a stellar referral from the crazy tree lady. Now who wouldn't want that?

Maybe I need to go incognito just to save my tree's life. I'm calling for estimates tomorrow (or maybe the next time the wind blows).
Photograph of the week.
5:41 pm | link 

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Beauty of Fall in the Eye of the Beholder

I have always used my trees to learn about my camera. And I can't help thinking that all too soon the beautiful fall leaves will be gone and THEN what will I have to experiment on? (Evergreen needles and sticks. Woo hoo.) So today, I was blown away by the color of my sugar maple: bright yellow, and orange at the top. But I was experimenting with shutter speed, ISO and aperture on my camera, hunting for the best color and the most interesting depth of field.

So what did I do? I turned the picture into a black and white with a touch of sepia. I actually love this shot because it proves that the beauty of fall isn't necessarily in the colors, but in what's happening to the trees: a period of new growth.

And that's exactly how I feel about my photography: I'm in a period of new growth! Dreading the winter that's sure to come, I'm SO excited for the spring!

But, just for you fall purists, here another shot of my sugar maple in color, this time I was trying to get a literal razor-thin depth of field. Notice how the edge of the green leaf is sharp, as is a section of the leaf stem on the right, but everything else fades away. To me depth of field so thin like that is beautiful because it forces the viewer to focus on exactly what the artist had in mind.

Have I mentioned lately that I love photographing trees?

Colleen, (of In the Garden in Harper Woods, MI, writes: That B&W of the maple leaf is amazing. Your photography absolutely inspires me to get to know my camera a little better!

Lisa in Burlington, Ontario, writes: Hi Julie, what a wonderful experiment. You know what I love about the black and white picture in particular is that without colour it forces me to focus on texture. I am amazed that this picture captures all that is fall even without the brillance of the autumn hue. The "crinkly" texture of the leaf just conjures up cozy memories of late autumn walks and the comforting sound of leaves crunching under my feet, the freshnes of the air as it stings my nose and lungs, the scent of a log burning fireplace in the distance and the knowledge that a nice warm cup of cider awaits me at home. I also love the play on light. Even though it is black and white, I still get the sense of autumn light the way it kind of glows and creates this interesting dance of shadow and sunshine amongst the leaves. BEAUTIFUL!!!

Um, wow, Lisa, I'm speechless. What a wonderful letter!
Photograph of the week.
9:51 am | link 

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"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today." -- African proverb

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While the Tree Grower's Diary has been in existence since 1996 (as a notebook) and since 1999 (at Coffeedrome), this new, independent site was launched on April 4, 2006. The blog posts here go from April 2006 through 2007. After that, all Tree Growers Diary blog posts appear in my main blog, the City of Nouns. Click here to go straight to the tree category.