Monday, January 19, 2009

Best state quarters

While rummaging through a bowl of change to find laundry quarters the other day, I was pleased to see a large oak tree on the back of the Connecticut state quarter. This piqued my curiosity as to how many of our 50 state quarters are graced with the presence of trees. Here are the winners. Trees! You can view the rest of the 50 U.S. state quarters here. (Granted, there are a couple other states with trees in the background – Colorado, for one – but I was much more impressed with the prominence trees were given on these four).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bonsai - the smallest trees of the new year

Have any of you noticed that I've never posted about bonsai? How can this be? I think I was waiting for the perfect bonsai situation to present itself, which it did – this past weekend at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Though, from the looks of the photos on their site, I'll have to visit again in April and again in the fall. Even bonsai trees bloom in the spring and change colors in autumn!

What's not to love about bonsai?
1) they are miniature
2) they are works of art
3) they are trees
Plus, they usually come in cool ceramic pots and frequently have tufts of spongy moss growing at the base.

They are beautiful. And cute! Bonsai are so exquisitely manicured and pruned so that some of these less-than-two-feet-tall little trees are actually over 100 years old. It's really quite amazing. Looking closely at a bonsai, I sometimes wish I were the size of a fairy so I could sit underneath one of them and take a nap. That moss would be so soft! bonsai surely must be the smallest trees of their kind in the world.

"Bonsai" refers to little trees in pots...and the art to coaxing a tree to age without growing big has to do with trimming both the leaves and roots. But there is more than just careful clipping involved: Bonsai "demands a spiritual involvement" by the artist. Julian Velasco, curator of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden bonsai collection, says that "the stronger the connection between artist and tree, the more the artist can bring out in that particular tree." The creator has a very intentional role, using wire to gently guide the trees into position.

There's much more to be said and learned about bonsai, but for now let's just enjoy them as works of art, shall we?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

final trees of 2008

My dear friends. I've let time get away from me once again. I'm going to stop apologizing for it, starting now. It seems inevitable that I will have huge lapses in posting from time to time. I still love trees. It's a new year.

Christmas in the city was delectable. Holiday cheer, lights, spice cookies and trees! I was pleasantly surprised by the tree in Bryant park - I think I preferred it to (dare I say it) "The Tree" at Rockefeller. Of course, our own little Christmas "tree" was more of a bush this year, as all things "household" have had to downsize considerably. I made tree cookies this year. There's a first time for everything.

Here's to the best year yet.