Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hopelessly Devoted

 Eucalyptus is an introduced presence that looms over and defines many regions of California , rows of them providing windbreaks in agricultural areas and lining highways . Many consider them to be 'weed trees' , with their year round leaf-drop and reputation for flammability-a notable example of the latter being the devastating  Oakland Hills fire of 1991 . Debates abound over the wisdom or foolishness of their presence here-Eucs are second only to Redwood in the arena of controversial trees in our fair state. 

I admit that I love them. I love their looks, I love the fragrance-they are the most significant  tree of my childhood and the first tree I ever planted as a homeowner. Like a wayward and beloved friend I forgive them over and over for their defects. Ironically I don't currently own one, and in all likelihood I never will-they are far too large for my tiny lot. But I can step outside and see them along the river to the east,and on the hillside to the south. At Christmastime I roam parking lots and the perimeter of vineyards with the pruners collecting their greenery for the mantle, vases and wreaths. I take photos, and I look forward to road trips that will take me through favorite groves. Here are a few from the collection of specimen trees at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, and from the Carneros wine growing region of the Napa Valley.




















8 comments:

  1. Wow. going through my regular blogs and finding a eucalyptus post from California of all places is a little surreal. I assume by your weed comment that they are an introduced rather than native species. If you're a fan, please feel free to look me up if you're in Sydney and we'll go looking at all the varieties here.

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  2. There are only a couple of species that will make it through our winters here in SE Va. From what I understand it is not necessarily the cold, but cold combined with wet. I love them though and remember first encountering some sizeable specimens in London and did not know what they were, but hugged them just the same.

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  3. Paul, they are introduced and the history here is an interesting one. I hope to do another post later this fall--but must collect more photos ! I'd i ever make it Sydney you're on !

    I wonder if the humidity is a factor too Les, our winters here are very wet (though the term cold is relative) but they seem to like the dry summers.

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  4. I'm with you - I LOVE Eucalyptus, yet I don't have any. I hear there's a 'dwarf' variety that I'd like to find. Gorgeous photos, too!

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  5. I certainly don't have any here in Ontario. (Canada) I DO understand loving them though.

    For me, it is the olive tree that I adore. (and many others too!)

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  6. I agree, they are such wonderful trees. There was one near our house in Portland that I watched die last winter. Or so I thought! I noticed just yesterday that it's got a few new shoots!

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  7. I'm fond of these shaggy brutes too. But then I just saw my very first copper beech this autumn, so I've lived a sheltered life! Photos 1 & 2 have that lovely Napa light.

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  8. i love these trees, despite the local controversy. i just read this post on another garden blog, you might find of interest. i find it hard to vilify any tree, especially ones that are so diverse and beautiful as eucs! in my hometown of laguna beach, they are a defining, yet embattled presence.

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