Fewer and fewer Americans engage in ‘monkeying around ones grounds’ these days. Fewer and fewer Americans can identify five plants growing on their property or grounds near by. Fewer and fewer people bother tending to ‘gardens’. More and ever more Americans live all of their lives just a few feet above asphalt. Fewer and fewer Americans have children…..We now import them for political as well as economic reasons.

Botany is no longer taught at school….at any school.

We are told in politics and school that Carbon Dioxide is a poison and must be eradicated to save us all. Yet, there would be neither vegetative nor animal life remaining on Earth if these politicians would have their way ‘making’ Carbon Dioxide disappear. What do you think would happen if Carbon Dioxide increased by ten-fold, twenty-fold over the next generation? You’d probably be surprised!

It is likely that the majority of American junior high school students today believe a tomato is made at the local super market. What else would they guess when nothing in the outdoor vegetative world competes with modern indoctrinations and directives by governments? What can inspirit children to love life more than the life they cherish from family and garden?

One does not go to university to discover, learn, and know the garden arts…..it comes from experience, patience, tolerance, training, and spirit….. as successful raising of children used to be when the human family once had meaning.

City managers of all stripes, weight and sizes, know by instinct that trees are more than something to pass by or escape from the summer sun. It’s the place we homo sapiens lived and died before venturing out on the great place beneath. Typically in each arriving springtime around our Minnesota regions, they or their subordinates sell these woodies as goodwill rather than for profits and/or ‘beautification’ purposes and usually at bargain rates. It builds a reputation of ‘character’ for city institutions….the city CARES for you and me. People feel good.

But, where would the tree, or trees be planted? Which tree would be best suited for the space available? What happens to the setting relative to other forms nearby?

Deciduous trees here in Minnesota lose their leaves in autumn and don’t get them back until May. Does this matter? Not all dropped leaves are equal. Does THIS matter? Every year fewer and fewer Minnesotans know what ‘conifer’ means. “Pine” is a word that still lingers in their memory, and so, call all conifers ‘PINES’, for pines have needles.

A winter garden in Minnesota without conifers is a very cold, frigid, unwelcoming acreage where visitors are not likely to linger long much less evaluate the beauty of the space. Conifers cost more in upfront price, knowledge, and care, however….too many questions for city plant money-makers to answer.

A good friend of mine who lives in Minneapolis on a 45′ by 95′ lot, called the other day about trees the city was offering for ‘beautification’, good prices, and perhaps even for a bit of Carbon Dioxide ‘control’. Who knows real reasons which bureaucrats rely on to order the selections? Dozens were available, but descriptions of River Birch and Royal Plum had caught her attention…..one a major sixty foot deciduous tree with a beautiful bark for about twenty five years of its aging, the other a smaller thing with an acceptable bloom and purplish foliage, but disease issues. She should have bought neither, but I finally gave in on the Royal Plum. (It has a shorter life span).

Ideally, landscape gardening is supposed to be an art form. Think of your woody plants as musical notes, piano keys, for your eyes rather than your ears to behold Beethoven or Mozart, let’s say…..and ideally you are supposed to make lovely harmony to make your home-world pleasant for you and your family’s eye and soul…..at a time in human life where we learn at university to disdain beauty in art, for their professors are incapable of teaching it.