Following my Tree: August

 

Last month when I posted about the linden, or basswood, tree that is such a prominent feature of Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, I was worrying that the trunk was beginning to split. I’m still worrying about that since a big hole in the canopy is clearly visible.

 

The split in the canopy is most visible from this angle.
The split in the canopy is most visible from this angle.

 

 

The linden has four main trunks, almost certainly a sign that it was deliberately or accidentally cut when young. This is a common trait of the species. When cut, a basswood stump quickly sends up young shoots, each of which can grow into a tree. So it is possible that our linden isn’t one tree but four.

 

The four trunks of the linden are quite symmetrical.
The large branches of the linden are quite symmetrical. But is it a single tree or a tightly spaced grove?

 

 

The opening in the canopy could mirror the space where the trunks divide but it doesn’t seem to. It could be a sign that the tree is dying, But looking at the tree from a distance makes me wonder if this central part of the tree was damaged in the ice storm several years ago. I don’t know whether a tree this old is able to fill the space with new branches but I hope it can. Then the canopy will once again form the perfect oval that makes the tree so glorious.

 

The linden in late afternoon sunshine could be the model for the ideal tree.
The linden in late afternoon sunshine could be the model for the ideal tree.

 

The week after my last ‘follow the tree’ post, the linden burst into bloom. It was still in bloom on the hot day when a group from Quebec City came to tour the garden. The group’s leader could scarcely drag them away from the shade of the linden — and from the perfume of the blossoms.

 

Blossoms hang down and emit an incredibly sweet fragrance when the wind blows.
Blossoms hang down and emit an incredibly sweet fragrance when the wind blows.

 

The blossoms have faded now, and morning mists show that summer is beginning to do the same. It’s much too early — summer in Quebec is much too short — but autumn shows the linden at a high point, when colours that surround it are a symphony of red, yellow and gold.

 

The linden in morning fog.
Mist-filled photos are romantic. I’d rather have sunshine and summer.

 

There’s green on the tree’s trunk now, where lichens are growing. Lichens are good indicators of air quality — they grow best in an unpolluted environments — so the conditions for the continued health of the tree are good.

 

This lichen isn't really shaped like a heart, but I can imagine it is.
This lichen isn’t really shaped like a heart, but I can imagine it is.

 

We fertilize the linden annually, remove as much dead wood as we can and generally care for the tree as attentively as we would for an aging relative. Standing at the end of the Big Lawn, the tree is a member of the family. It welcomes us in the morning and presides over evening meals. Our lives would be less without it.