Dear Friends and Fellow Gardeners,
We are pleased to announce the 2018 Essence of the Tree catalog is on the way to your mailbox!
I am so blessed to work with these beautiful trees and the incredibly vibrant and passionate community of gardeners. This has been a difficult year here at the nursery. Many of you have heard of the horrific fires in northern California in October. The evening of October 9th, 75 mph winds began gusting through Potter Valley felling trees, disrupting electricity and all communication in the valley. Starting in the north end of the valley, with high winds and dry hot conditions, the fire spread quickly with terrifying and awesome speed.
By midnight and with only one road out, Ian determined we needed to evacuate. I protested weakly but, at this point, nothing without a heartbeat really mattered and he wouldn’t hear any arguments. The next morning we returned. The fire was burning up the hills surrounding the valley, the nursery was a mess but did not burn … still no electricity or communication.
As Charles and Devyn up righted the trees and cleared the debris, I rewired the pump, repaired the broken irrigation, and set up the generators to water the trees until electricity was restored. The fires continued to burn, leading us to be evacuated by Calfire before the fires were finally extinguishing. In total a week.
This is our story. We were very fortunate. There were numerous heroes during this event. My personal heroes were Ian, Corinne, Charles, Devyn and all of the friends and neighbors that kept the trees watered and the nursery safe through the fire. Though we had parched leaves and some broken branches, when the smoke cleared and the trees moved into dormancy, I could see their plump buds and taut wood. Gathering scion wood was particularly joyous this year. I’m reminded of all the blessings in my life and with love and gratitude we continue to grow and share these trees.
Our newest introduction from here at Essence of the Tree is the beautiful ‘Lady Abbess’. Since the receipt of the scion wood over seven years ago from Sister Esther, gardener at the Abbey, I have enjoyed the entire process of growing this tree. The fine dissectum leaves are the pink in spring contrasting beautifully with the pale green bark. A lovely mauve through the summer and flaming orange and red in the fall. The structure is outstanding, seeming to float. Wonderful to grow and hardy to zone 5!
Outrageous pink twigs and leaves, A.p. Radiant is the all of the best from a variegated tree. Consistently variegated pink and white splashed and marbled throughout the tree with very little reversion and strong growth. An outstanding tree.
The best of the new introductions this year A.p. Usu midori has captured my heart. So soft pastel pink and yellow in spring and lovely creamy yellow transitioning to pink tipped lobes in the summer. All of the brilliant fall color and excellent cold tolerance.
Ah, yes, Acer pictum Usugumo, the ‘Batwing’ tree. I have lusted for this tree since I first saw my mothers in the 90’s. So rare, so slow, such an exquisite dusting of variegation across the unusual leaves. The character of this tree is like a queen, quite elegant and reserved.
Named ‘Red Ruffles’ the heavily serrated lobes of A.p. Beni sazanami certainly have the feel of a flashy red ruffled dress. The soft texture moves delightfully with the wind. A lovely small tree with good heat tolerance, I am sure to have this girl on my deck.
Enjoy your trees, Thank you, Tricia
Somebody gave me this body—what do I do with it now?
It’s a very remarkable body, and nobody’s body but mine.
I’m alive and I breathe, I’m strong and tall—
won’t somebody tell me who to thank for it all?
I’m the gardener and the flower, too,
And in this prison of a world I’m not alone.
When I move, when I breathe, I leave my mark
on the everlasting windowpane that keeps out the dark.
It’s the mark of myself! And that mark will remain
on the cold transparence of that windowpane.
Life beyond the glass may darken, day to day,
but my mark on that windowpane will never go away.
—Osip Mandelstam, translated from the Russian by Paul Schmidt (1909)