A Tree for All Seasons

I was fascinated by an unusual tree at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.

Its name is Chinese Parasol Tree, Firmiana simplex.

It had several features that were of interest.

One was its green bark which had an unusual texture.

Also, its leaves were huge and complex.

It had a nice shape overall that made it attractive from a distance.

This may be a tree for all seasons.


Oh Those Knees

I have always found the knees of the Bald Cypress trees fascinating.

(It may be because my Mamaw had one in her living room.)

So when the Edisto Memorial Gardens also had a Cypress Swamp walkway,

I found myself knee-deep in my deeply-rooted fascination.

I could not believe the diversity in shape and arrangement.

One group even looked like a nativity scene.

Yes, there were roses! I will eventually get to those.

But for this post we will be lovin’ on some Taxodium distichum parts.

The roots are unusual, but so are the cones.

My cousins did get a tiny bit of attention during the visit.

Next come the roses and some fowl.

Stick around folks.




Conk up: Tree down

I am fascinated by all things fungi.

This particular conk, Inonotus dryadeus, has been featured in my posts before.

It was growing at the base of  a huge oak in my neighbors’ yard.

Another name for this type of fungi is “white rot.”

It is a symptom of the decline of the tree it is on.

The more conks present, the more disease.

Conks are a symptom, not a cause.

Last week the tree came down,

with some help from a team of men with ropes and chain saws.

My neighbor left the conk on my stone bench because she knew I would want to keep it.

Here it is now out of the ground and upside down.

I think it is beautiful.

Maybe I could make it into a hat to match these shoes?


A Perfect Day for Plants and Poetry

I guess the stars were aligned in my favor yesterday.  I could not have wished for a better day.  My dreams are small and unusual, so the odds are slim of them coming to fruition…but yesterday had its miracle moments.  Plants are my “stars” you see.

I went back to one of my alma maters for an unplanned visit to their green houses and botanical gardens. I actually bumped into my first EVER botany professor from University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  I got my master’s degree from there many years ago.

As my sister and I perused the plants on sale, we struck up a conversation with a woman carrying a bag made of bark.  Her name was Carla Vitez.

She was there to give a talk about trees that included history and poetry. She invited us on a practice run of her tour. How could we refuse?

The talk and tour occurred in the Van Landingham Glen across the street from the greenhouses.  The glen is full of many species of trees and dozens of types of Rhododendron and azaleas which are in bloom now. The sizes and colors of blooms were amazing.

My two favorites were a white rhododendron ‘Bellringer’ and a red ‘Vivacious.’

Rhododendron ‘Bellringer’

Rhododendron vivacious

We got a condensed version of “In the Company of Trees.”  We were spellbound.  She eloquently quoted the words of Donald Culross Peattie as she stood by the featured trees.

We heard the parts of her talk about the White Oak, Pawpaw, Bigleaf Magnolia and Shagbark Hickory.  When she talked about the Beech trees and nuts and the, now extinct, Passenger Pigeons, I teared up.

Carla Vitez will be giving the talk and tour again on Sunday at two o’clock.  It may be full all ready.  If you wish to hear it, you may need to call. Maybe they can add another tour in sometime soon.  Carla  perfectly mixed art and nature, present and past, to include her audience in a time travel through the trees.

I will share two more little miracles on the tour. A bench honoring my wonderful friend “The Genius”, Steve Baldwin.


and a quote from the tomb of a much admired woman, Bonnie Cone, who started UNCC.

Flower is always searching for her place you see.  My people have been here and thus I belong here also.

I will share photos from the greenhouses in another post.  Some of my little stars in the yard need my attention today.  That was another part of my perfect day yesterday. I acquired some more green little friends.  Introductions must wait. They need to get settled.



Tree of Life

My sister and I found all these different life forms growing on and in one old tree.


This tiny pine was growing ten feet up between branches.

The hole in the trunk was full of cobwebs and one lovely white mushroom.

This mushroom was deep inside the hole in the trunk.

Lichens and mosses covered the old bark.

This huge bracket fungi was up about twelve feet high on the trunk.

Small plants nestled around its roots.

This dried up lichen looked like leaves.


It was like a treasure hunt.

This tree is a treasure.



Viva La Tree

A tree is so much more than leaves

IMG_1219 and trunk


and roots.


It is shade


and fruit.


It is home and perch.


It is look-out


and  hiding place.


I look at wood very differently than most


where they see fuel and walls and fences,


I see the stem of a sacrificed friend.

FLOWER loves the trees.

Uncover Your Roots


Tree roots are like sculpture.


I have been cleaning around my tree trunks for several weeks.

I use a digger, clippers and several sizes of bristle brushes.


I have cut off crossing roots that cut into the bark

and even removed some rocks surrounded by bark.


I felt like I was removing a thorn from a lion’s paw.

I could almost hear the trees sigh.


These lovely shapes were made by the tree.

I just enhanced them with my tools.


This is where I sit to hide. It’s like a tree throne.

Stay tuned for the magical transformation in the coming weeks.

Follow the sneaky FLOWER.