Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Arbor Day on April 29 th

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
--Lucy Larcom, from 'Plant a Tree' --

(All pictures are of the trees on my block.)
Tomorrow is Arbor Day.  It is a uniquely Pagan-like day, especially for those who are close to the earth. The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska, and by 1894,
.every state in the union was celebrating Arbor Day by planting trees and caring for trees. It was in 1970, though, that President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday as April Arbor Day. There is no better way to celebrate this day than to plant a new tree for just one tree can both beautify and help to cleanse our environment.

In its origin,  Arbor Day was more material than sentimental. The reckless spoilation of the great forests early alarmed those men who saw in it a great and direct loss to national wealth, as well as an even greater menace to climate, and, as a consequence, to agriculture. In the treeless prairie states of Nebraska and Kansas,  the lack of forests was felt, both in the scarcity of necessary timber for building purposes, and in the irregularity of rainfall. Trees were needed to conserve and increase material wealth. States more favored by nature saw in the examples of the prairie states a threat of similar necessity should they fail to keep what they already possessed. For them the observance of Arbor Day was in the nature of insurance against the future.

(This is a very strange tree.  Click on picture for a better look. The leaves are red and there are little red bell shaped flowers hanging downwards. Sorry it is not a better picture.   Does anyone know what it is?)

But the planting and the care of trees soon became popular not for material reasons alone. In pioneer days a forest seemed an obstacle to agricultural development rather than an assistance. Trees were regarded too often as enemies to progress and civilization, useful only as fire wood. Their beauty was not appreciated until, with the development of towns and cities, men ceased to think only of material development and began to care for the appearance of their surroundings. Then it was seen that trees were beautiful and contributed much to the attractiveness of any community. In the light of this awakened perception,  trees were planted as ornaments, and it is to this belief in the beauty of trees that Arbor Day appeals.

When April winds are blowing,
And clouds are full of rain, 
When sunbeams flit between the mists,
Comes Arbor Day again!
O, busy are we children—
There is so much to do!
The planting never will be done
Unless we're working, too.

We do our work together;
The sun, the winds, the showers, 
Are helpers that our Father sends,
And all are friends of ours.
So, when the sunbeams brighten,
And April breezes stray;
When raindrops find the daisy's root,
Once more 'tis Arbor Day!

The oaks and the pines, 
and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set, 
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it, 
or we ears fine enough to understand. 
-- Author Unknown--
quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938


  1. You have lovely trees, on your block, to walk past.

    Thank you for the history of Arbor Day.


  2. Hello Mary....pretty trees you have in your neck of the woods....I'm going to go outside right now and HUG A TREE!!! LOL

    loved this post


  3. It looks like my Japanese Red Maple, EXCEPT I can't remember ever seeing red bell shaped flowers on it.
    Will have to check back and see if anyone names it.

  4. I have trees here...
    Chinese Elm
    Messy little buggers
    But I love the shade:)
    Happy tree planting day!