Circus of the Spineless #33

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bee
Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bee

Circus of the Spineless #33 (COTS 33) is up on Seeds Aside.

I submitted my post and photographs of Cellophane Bees from last weekend. This is only my second contribution to COTS. My first was two years ago, in COTS #10.

I thought of sending in my post about Magicicada, but since I haven’t actually encountered any, it seemed premature.

The next edition, COTS #34, will be posted at Gossamer Tapestry. Send your submissions to Doug: dtaron(at) before June, 29.

Related Posts

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, May
Coleomegilla usurps Coccinella as New York State Insect, June 23, 2006


Circus of the Spineless #33, Seeds Aside
Circus of the Spineless

November Arborea, FotT #18

Festival of the Trees #18, November Arborea, is up on Larry Ayers’ Riverside Rambles. This issue has a link to my post about Brooklyn’s Trees, the Flickr photo pool I started this year.

The 19th Festival of the Trees will be hosted by Lorianne of Hoarded Ordinaries. She’ll be taking submissions until midnight on December 30th. You can e-mail her at zenmama (at) You can also use the handy submission form.

Festival of the Trees #13

Festival of the Trees #13: Putting Down Roots is up on Wrenaissance Reflections. WrenaissanceWoman subtitle her blog “Notes from a Backyard Wildlife Habitat” and it’s always an interesting read. You can also find a link to it in my Gardening blogroll in the sidebar.

This is the first anniversary issue of Festival of the Trees. WW writes in her introduction:

Trees are inextricably linked to places, perhaps because it takes them so long to reach maturity and majesty. When we become very attached to a place, we liken ourselves to the trees, and say that we have put down roots. This month’s Festival of the Trees looks at places where trees have taken hold, including places in our hearts.

WW has found lots of good reading, stories of trees from all over the world. Go check it out and leave her a comment about your own “trees of the heart.”

I submitted a recent press release from the Parks Department about the planting of a new Tree of Hope in Harlem, on on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard between West 131st and 132nd Streets. The stump of the original Tree of Hope, an elm, greets performers on the stage of the Apollo Theater:

The Tree of Hope came to symbolize the promise that Harlem held for so many African Americans and performers such as Ethel Waters, Fletcher Henderson and Eubie Blake were said to have visited it. But in 1934 what was then called the Boulevard of Dreams was widened and the tree was removed. Today, thanks to the suggestion of the Copasetics Connection, a new tree stands near the original site to commemorate this important piece of Harlem’s history. Although an American Elm, the original type of tree, could not be planted because it is susceptible to disease and pests, the new tree is a member of the elm family, a Zelkova.
A New Tree of Hope Takes Root

I was surprised and pleased to see that WW also picked up one of my posts from earlier this week, the most recent addition to my Grief and Gardening series. I wrote about revisiting, for the first time in nearly 15 years, my first garden in NYC. The centerpiece of that garden is a maple tree.

I and the Bard: IATB #49 is up on Via Negativa

A carnival for the birds, I and the Bird #49 is up on Dave Bonta‘s Via Negativa. I submitted my recent bird sightings and Dave linked to my post about the Cedar Waxwings.

But not in an obvious way. Dave did something unusual with the contributions this time. I’ll let him explain:

Poems, like birds, are everywhere; it’s just a matter of training ourselves to recognize them — a metaphor here, an alliterative passage there, and something lovely dark and deep lurking just beyond. And with a little bit of editing, the English language naturally resolves into a rough iambic pentameter…

Each line in the “found poem” below is a link to the post I lifted it from. I’ve altered nothing but the punctuation, and I’ve included an audio version for those who may have trouble hearing the poetry at first.

It was hard to recognize my own words in this context:

Who knows how they knew they were there.

Out of its original context, it reads more like a Zen koan than a sentence from a blog post. I don’t want to spoil the accidental poetry of that line by explaining it.

Go check out IATB#49 for all the poetry. I recommend taking the time to listen to Dave’s audio recording. He has a poet’s voice.

Festival of the Trees #11: Trees in the Concrete

2010-08-18: Corrected the name of the sculptor, Steve Tobin.

  • Added links to the story of Trinity Root.
  • Added links to Festival of the Trees home site and #12.
  • Added the story of the tree in the photo at the top of the post.

Welcome to Festival of the Trees #11 for May 2007: Trees in the Concrete.

Read the story of this urban tree at the bottom of this post.
Trinity Root

There were a lot of entries. I underestimated the work involved in collecting and assembling all the entries submitted into a semi-coherent post! Part of the problem is technical; I’ve still got about a dozen things I found which I need to review. (Note to self: NEVER use the “Email This” feature of Bloglines, since it strips out all reference information such as URLs.) But I think I’ve addressed all the non-host submissions. I’ll be coming back with an update tomorrow (now this) evening, so If I’ve missed anything, please leave a comment so I can follow up.

Trees in the Concrete (Urban Trees)
News and events

The Society of Municipal Arborists chose the bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, as their 2007 Urban Tree of the Year [PDF].

This past weekend was Sakura Matsui, the Cherry Blossom Festival, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). It’s their biggest event of the year, and tens of thousands of people turn out for it. At the beginning of April, there was a single cherry tree blooming. The 42 varieties of cherry trees planted at BBG extend the cherry blossom watching season as long as possible.

The New York City Parks Department pruned a historic grove of trees in Kissena Park in Queens. These trees are the remnants of the Parsons and Company nursery which had its origins in the 19th Century.

Judith Z. Miller of Park Slope, Brooklyn had an exhibition of her artwork formed from branches dropped from street trees at the Prospect Park Audubon Center.

Also in the past month, New York City provided estimates of the economic value of street trees, and announced plans to plant one million more trees in the next ten years.


A comprehensive collection of images of trees in concrete from Claudia Lüthi in though trees grow so high, another tree blog I discovered by hosting this carnival.

Terrell at Alone on a Limb shared a photo from Digital Tribes of a street tree laid low in a prominent location.

Bevson of Murmuring Trees from New Jersey sent in a photo of a tree in Baku, with bonus cats lounging in its shade.

From here in Brooklyn, some photos of Magnolias as street trees in Clinton Hill Blog and an unidentified white-flowering street tree in Park Slope from Brit in Brooklyn.

Salix Tree shared images of street tree vandalism from her town in Ireland.


On her blog, The Written Nerd, Book Nerd of Brooklyn shared a poem by Marge Piercy, The streets of Detroit were lined with elms, to open National Poetry Month.

Lori Witzel of Austin, Texas was inspired to write about communing with trees in some familiar man-made landscapes.

In Meanwhile, Back in the Holler, Cady May wrote about trying to understand the patterns of tree survival in an urban setting.

In her blog Tree Notes, Genevieve Netz wrote about the importance of diversity in urban forests, contrasting it with the then-conventional advice given by Charles Sprague Sargent over a century ago. Also check out the photo of a doomed tree. Idiots.

In The Brooklyn Paper, Nica Lalli writes about the frustrations of plastic bags in trees, and choices we can make to reduce this problem.

Words and Images

On his blog, Riverside Rambles, Larry Ayers posted photos and a poem by one of his readers, Joan Ryan, about a tree at a community center.

Dave Bonta writes about the interrelationship of suburban communities and their trees on his blog, Via Negativa.

Ficus is The tree that ate L.A., as Elizabeth Licata explains on Garden Rant.

Julie Ardery sent in a post from the Human Flower Project – a wonderful site – about the Girl Trees of Beijing. Some basic botany is in order.

Dave Bonta, one of the founders of Festival of the Trees, discovered the blog Eucalyptus, whose authors hail from Melbourne, Australia. A particularly interesting tree story they related the past month is that of the Lone Pine.

In her blog, Crafty Green Poet, Juliet Wilson wrote about the threat to an ancient woodland outside Dalkeith, a suburb of Edinburgh.

Other Trees


On her blog, Walking Prescott, Granny J of Prescott, Arizona shared her photos of Dangles, the early spring inflorescences of trees: “The trees have a particular beauty just before they leaf out. Some pictures of blossoming trees I saw on walks around town.”

Jade Blackwater shared her visit to the Topiary Garden at Longwood.

Jade also sent in Rohan Rao‘s striking photos of some trees in India.

Don West sent in his journal illustration and notes about a tenacious tree from his blog Idle Minutes.

Christopher of Tropical Embellishments shared some photos of the ripening fruit of Thrinax excelsa, the Thatch Palm or Pea Palm. I’m going to miss his posts from Maui, and look forward to hearing about his new adventures.

A beautiful detail of a weeping larch by Sandy on her photoblog In a Garden.


Rohan Rao writes about the need to save trees in India, raising issues which had not occurred to me, such as the increasing demand for trees for firewood in cremation rituals. Also submitted by Jade.

In his blog Invasive Notes, John Peter Thompson wrote about the challenges of balancing “plant a tree” messages – Arbor Day was this past Friday – with concerns about managing biodiversity.

Surreal Trees

Tim Abbott of Walking the Berkshires submitted the curious case of Nutrimens lepi, the gumdrop tree (now with bark!)

In Where Trees Have Faces, Fred of Fragments from Floyd writes about the surprise they’ve created for their granddaughter in their Enchanted Woods. (Okay, editorial comment here: I hate these things!)

Check out the sculpted trees of Broken Vulture at bingorage, submitted by Jade Blackwater.

Final Notes

Jade Blackwater will be hosting Festival of the Trees #12 for June 2007 on her blog, Arboreality. You can email submissions to her at jadeblackwater (at) brainripples (dot) com. Deadline for submissions for the June 2007 edition is May 29, 2007.

This was my first time hosting a carnival. I now have a better appreciation for the effort and care that goes with the job! I’m grateful that so many people were inspired by the theme, and the importance of urban trees. I hope that I’ve met your passion and done justice to it.

Trinity Root

The image at the top of this post is one of my photographs of Trinity Root, in the courtyard of Trinity Church in Downtown Manhattan, one block from Ground Zero, and three blocks from where I work. Here’s the story of this urban tree from the sign accompanying the sculpture for the 5th anniversary of the September 11 attacks last year, when I took this photo:

This sculpture is cast from the roots of the sycamore tree that was stricken by flying debris on September 11, 2001 in the churchyard behind St. Paul’s Chapel at Broadway and Fulton Street. [Steve] Tobin created the bronze sculpture from 300 individual castings of the tree’s roots to commemorate the events of September 11. The sculpture was dedicated here on this site on September 11, 2005. The original sycamore roots, painstakingly preserved by Tobin with the help of tree experts, now rest permanently in the St. Paul’s Chapel churchyard.

For me, there is no single better example of the power of urban trees and the passion they inspire in us. It’s a fitting close to this edition of Festival of the Trees.

Reminder – Call for Submissions for Festival of the Trees #11: Trees in the Concrete

Dueling Maples, 1422 Beverley Road, November 2006. I pass these two trees when I walk to and from the subway.
Dueling Maples

Just a reminder that we’re still inviting submissions for Festival of the Trees #11, which I’ll be hosting here on Flatbush Gardener in May.

Although I haven’t gotten to acknowledge any of the entries yet, I want to thank everyone who’s submitted entries so far. The pace has been quickening the past few days. With over 30 submissions as of this afternoon, it’s shaping up to be a terrific carnival.

Many of you are finding connections with the theme of “Trees in the Concrete”: street trees, trees in cities, urban forestry, and so on. Do you have a favorite street tree? Trees in city parks? Tell us about them! This is not a restrictive theme, so anything which fits the FotT submission guidelines is welcome. And you don’t need a blog or Web site of your own. You can send in a link you find on the Web. If you have a doubt, send it.

The publication date will be May 1st, 2007. The deadline for submissions is April 29. You can submit entries via the Festival of the Trees Submission Form on BlogCarnival. You can also send an email to festival (dot) trees (at) gmail (dot) com with “Festival of the Trees” in the subject.

Festival of the Trees #10 and Call for Submissions for FotT #11: Trees in the Concrete

[Updated 2007.04.05: Corrected submission deadline.]

Still-Life with Hydrant and Tree
Hydrant and Tree

Festival of the Trees #10 is up on Roger Butterfield‘s blog, Words and Pictures. Roger is one of my favorite nature photographers on the Web. He’s in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England, UK and shares his love and intimate knowledge of his favorite places there.

And I will be hosting Festival of the Trees #11 here at Flatbush Gardener! The photo above symbolizes the theme for this edition:

We are interested in trees in the concrete rather than in the abstract, so while stories about a particular forest would be welcome, newsy pieces about forest issues probably wouldn’t be.
FotT Submission Guidelines

Yes, I am also interested in trees in the concrete, like the one above. Urban trees and forestry. Street trees, park trees, weed trees. So, for the next Festival of the Trees, I’m especially looking for submissions on this theme. This is not a restrictive theme, so anything which fits the FotT submission guidelines is welcome. If you have a doubt, send it. You can submit entries via the Festival of the Trees Submission Form on BlogCarnival. You can also send an email to festival (dot) trees (at) gmail (dot) com with “Festival of the Trees” in the subject.

The publication date will be May 1st, 2007. The deadline for submissions is April 29. It’s my first time hosting a Blog Carnival, so be gentle.

Important links:

PS: The tree above lives – nay, survives – on Westminster Road, around the corner from my home. I don’t know what kind of tree it is, yet.

Good Planets: Memory

Cherry Leaves in Stone Basin
Cherry Leaves in Stone Basin

Good Planets is up on Bev Wigney’s wonderful Burning Silo. The theme was Memory. Contributors explored memory through many different lenses. Definitely check it out.

Above is the photo I contributed. This may look familiar; it’s the lead photo for my recent post of “lost and found” photos from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from November 2005. Several people found that photo evocative. It is for me as well. Below is my explanation of how it connects to “memory” for me.

This basin is outside the entrance to the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Built from 1914-1915 and opened to the public in June 1915, it was the first Japanese garden to be created in an American public garden. This image speaks to “memory” for me in many ways. There are other times the basin has been filled with water from rain. The emptiness of the basin holds that memory for me. The leaves: the memory of the cherry trees above the basin, their flowers in Spring, how they look at other seasons, the memories of past winters like the one about to come.

There is another, darker kind of remembering which this basin, and the whole garden, holds for me. The Japanese Garden was designed by Takeo Shiota. He died in 1943 in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II. Read The Death of Takeo Shiota for my take on this.

Good Planets: Home

Street tree in front of our house
Sycamore Maple? Street Tree, Stratford Road

Trying to catch up with some of my blogospheric responsibilities, I realized I totally forgot to link back to Good Planets!

I submitted two photographs from the front of our house. The one above is the street tree in front of our house. Street trees have a tough time, and I worry about it. I’m thinking about plantings I can do in the tree pit (aka “hell strips”) between the sidewalk and the curb which will help the tree. We’re also going to need to make a cutout for the trunk, something I’m sorry we didn’t do when we had the sidewalk replaced two years ago.

Bees and Crocus tommasinianus in the front garden
Bees and Crocus tommasinianus in the front garden

This one’s a bonus shot of my first Spring flowers, in the front garden. These are part of the heirloom garden I’m building up in the front yard. The crocus were swarming with bees that day. I counted five bees when I took the photo, though I can only find three of them in the photo now.

Festival of the Trees #9

[Updated 2007.03.04: Added link to FotT #10 Call for Submissions.]

Festival of the Trees #9 is up on Larry Ayers’ blog Riverside Rambles.

I’m pleased to say that my recent post, Landscape and Politics, about the threats to privately-owned and -managed green space in Brooklyn’s 40th City Council District, made it onto the list. I’m in good company. Many of my favorite nature and garden bloggers, and many more new to me, are in this Festival. I look forward to browsing through them over the next few days.

FotT #10 will be at Roger Butterfield’s Words and Pictures; the Call for Submissions went up March 4 though I haven’t seen a formal call for submissions yet.

And FotT #11 will be right here on Flatbush Gardener! I’m excited about that, because it will be my first time hosting a carnival.