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

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.

 

  • Robert Richardson

    We have had a great summer here in Victoria and it’s still going!

    • siteandinsight

      Lucky you. Finally now (mid August) it is hot — but unpleasantly so. I shouldn’t complain but I am complaining!

  • Phyllis Beaulieu

    Really enjoyed reading about the linden tree. Thank you for the update!

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Phyllis, I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post.

  • Pat English

    Love the idea of a “tightly spaced grove”! It reminds me of those pairs of trees you sometimes get embracing each other like the Baucis and Philemon of Greek myth.
    You have a beautiful tree and I hope it keeps on going through many misty autumns to come.

    • siteandinsight

      Oh, Pat, what an image you’ve stirred up in my mind. Thank you.

  • Jane Scunthorpe

    That is one impressive tree !I hope the split does not signify a problem with it. It must be quite an age to have grown so large.

    • siteandinsight

      I think it is about 100 years old though it is hard to know for sure. Maybe I’ll give it an arbitrary birthday and celebrate it next summer!

  • Jean Potuchek

    Looking at the photos of those blossoms, I can almost smell their wonderful perfume. I would have had trouble tearing myself away from the linden tree to look at the rest of the garden, too.

    • siteandinsight

      I feel the same, Jean, but even sitting on the bench intending to simply enjoy being there, I notice something that needs to be done. Maybe I should just close my eyes and use my nose!