The full value of trees

I think Jefferson would be pleased by the trees at Monticello today. An entire forest of them was behind where I stood to take this photo in June 2014.

I think Jefferson would be pleased by the trees at Monticello today.
An entire forest of them was behind me where I stood to take this photo in June 2014.

“I never before knew the full value of trees. My house is entirely embosomed in high plane-trees, with good grass below; and under them I breakfast, dine, write, read, and receive my company. What would I not give that the trees planted nearest round the house at Monticello were full grown.”Thomas Jefferson

Because military families have to relocate frequently, we learn which features we most value when looking for a new home.  High on my list — perhaps at the top of it — are trees.

Even in places such as Texas and California, where trees are not as plentiful as they are in the southeast, we managed to have some beautiful ones in our yards, and nearby.  Here in Virginia, it’s a bonanza for tree lovers.  They are everywhere.  We have a HUGE oak in the back yard of our York home that is larger than the tree planted by George Washington that I featured in the post one year ago today.  Sometimes I like to imagine young Powhatan natives walking past it when it was a tiny sapling.

There’s a downside to having lots of trees, of course. They require maintenance, some of which has to be hired out at fairly expensive rates, and storms can leave a lot of debris and cleanup, or worse.

One morning after days of steady rain,  I had the stunning experience of watching a very tall tree fall across the creek from the neighbor’s yard on the other side.  It hit the ground with a loud BOOM and narrowly missed the roof of our detached garage, leaving a section of our back fence in splinters.

Neighbors tell us that Hurricane Isabel uprooted dozens of trees in our immediate vicinity shortly before we moved to Virginia.  Our home was among many that needed roof repairs, and even though all those repairs were taken care of before we moved in, Jeff and I spent years clearing fallen trees from our wooded lot behind the yard.

I still think trees are worth the risk and expense.  They provide shade to keep things cool in the summer, privacy three seasons of the year, and beautiful leaves in the fall.  The birds and squirrels add entertainment, and the sound of the wind in the branches is wonderful to hear.

Do you have favorite trees near your home?  What kinds of trees do you like best?

One year ago today:

If I do nothing else

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! I love trees. I plant trees, as a sort of hobby. The plum tree I planted here in Minnesota is almost ready to be replaced, but I’ve planted several trees in my mom’s yard in Florida, which has been great fun, as they are varieties that can’t grow here: tangerine, star fruit, mango, avocado and moringa. And last time I was in Arizona, I planted an olive tree in my uncle’s yard (we’ll see if it was established enough to survive after my departure).
    Apparently fruit trees would be my favorite. As you described in a recent post, flowers give way to fruit. Hooray for flowers and fruit!

    • Well, that means I will be making some big plans for your next visit! Because there are several more trees I’d like to plant here. 😀 They say it’s best to plant them in autumn; have you found that to be true?

      • I really don’t knew when is “best” for planting trees, and I wonder if it depends at all on the species? I generally just go with: plant then and give them a lot of water to start. In poorer soil, I like to add a bag (depending on size) of good soil to the hole, to welcome and encourage the new plants.

        • I wish I knew a good arborist around here. But there don’t seem to be many anymore, at least not in cities…

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