The Heart of the Arboretum

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I feel very fortunate that my home can boast a splendid arboretum as one of its attractions. As a part of the OARDC, Secrest Arboretum is a vast research facility masquerading as acres of beautiful, orderly woods as well as gardens.

My favorite time to visit Secrest is in April, when acres of different crabapple varieties are in bloom, filling the air with their heady fragrance and delighting the eyes with snowy drifts of blossoms in a spectrum from creamy white to vibrant fuschia. Even the tornado that devastated the arboretum in September 2010 and wiped out the crabapples lining the main road failed to diminish the annual crabapple bloom in other areas of the campus.

But I’m making more of an effort to get out here more often so that I can appreciate all the trees in all the seasons. And on a brilliantly sunny, warm, breezy late summer day like today, I enjoy visiting some of the taller trees and shady spots.

Near the children’s playground stands a small grove of dawn redwoods, planted in 1953. Whenever I think of redwoods, of course, I think of the old, enormous specimens found in California. I suppose in comparison ours look like puny infants, but they still draw the eye upward and inspire reflections on the resilience and longevity of the species. Today I gave them a little more attention, admiring their straight trunks that taper to the sky, the bare branches that thrust nearly straight out, the seeming airiness in their high foliage. And in their shade, I enjoyed a few moments of peace and quiet.

I look forward to learning more about other tree collections at the arboretum throughout the year — can’t wait for the fall colors!

 

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