Regine, another neighbor Susan and I spent 3 hours pruning, for the first time just after Valentines Day this year, and here are the mature roses on Earth Day '11.
The reason I'm focusing on this success story is that on April 9th, this year, the church decided to "clean-up" the garden. The minister that we'd worked with, long gone had been replaced by a fire and brimstone fellow, then another and Melvin had gone back to not talking to me because I don't share his beliefs. The only garden they have, outside the central beds that are not visible to the neighborhood, are the rose garden and the 17 trees I wrote a grant for and organized neighborhood volunteers to plant and care for, 3 years ago. No one spoke to me, even though many of the church members know who I am, and Melvin is still the grounds keeper.
With dull tools they systematically butchered 13 of the 17 trees, some with fruit and blossoms and topped 4 oaks. The oaks were strategically placed to relieve the heat island effect caused by the enormous parking lot and to cool the building like the mature trees they'd let go, and not replaced. A few of the trees were donated by neighbors, that they had nursed before and after planting that held sentimental meaning.
My two neighbors to the east, Regine and Dana and I have been caring for the trees, pruning when necessary, buying our own compost and watering for the obligatory 2 years as said by the TreeFolks contract. After we realized what had happened, we cried. We wrote letters to the new minister explaining the situation and he replied with an apology and a promise to repair, what they could, of the damage. I asked him to call me, said that I'd put together a packet of information about gardening practices but to please, immedately compost and deeply water the poor trees that had just lost their spring growth and to replace the oaks, now topped in the fall.
To date they have done nothing.
Thank goodness we were able to save the roses.
What is still puzzling to me is why? How can it be, in this day and age that anyone could not find "when to prune and how to prune" information within minutes on the computer? I am sickened everytime I walk out my front door, but am not surprised that the church is not keeping their word.
I leave you with one of my favorite poems by Joyce Kilmer printed in 1914.
I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest,
Against the earths sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robbins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I hope your EarthDay was rewarding, there is much to do.