Urban Garden Denver Blog

All About Trees


Today is Earth Day and Good Friday and next Friday (April 29) is Arbor Day, so I’m all about trees this week. This is a great time of year to plant a tree, before it gets too hot. Most of the flowering trees have been at their peak this past week in Denver. Now our winds are making pink and white “snow” as the blossoms blow around. Driving around town this week I have enjoyed clouds of pink and white from crabapple, cherry, pear, redbud and plum varieties. Crabapples are my absolute favorite tree to have in someone else’s yard! They are lovely in bloom and messy in the late summer/fall as they drop crabapples to ferment on the sidewalk or the lawn. Many varieties also have lumpy root systems.

When I was looking for another ornamental flowering tree for my yard, I was at a nursery browsing crabapples and the horticulturist asked if I would consider something other than a crabapple. He suggested a hawthorn tree. I have been very happy with my choice. It blooms later than all the other flowering trees which also makes it less susceptible to frozen buds. The small berries are pretty in the fall and winter but not as messy as crabapples.  I enjoy the blossoms from my hawthorn tree and my flowering plum. I also have a dwarf peach tree which has pretty flowers most years. This year the buds got nipped by a frost and there won’t be any peaches which makes me sad.

If I had a bigger yard, I would definitely plant more flowering trees, both ornamental and fruit-bearing. Instead I enjoy the blossoms from the collection of trees in my urban neighborhood.

One rather curious tree tradition for some people is saving their dead Christmas tree and making it into a cross for Good Friday to remember Jesus’ birth at Christmas and his death on Good Friday. While I will celebrate Good Friday at a somber service tonight, I don’t practice this tree tradition. As I child, I was always wondering why it was called “Good” Friday as there didn’t seem anything good about Jesus’ death. The word “good” is from a more obscure definition than our common use of the word, meaning pious, devout or holy. It was actually on this holiday as a teenager that I more fully understood Jesus’ love for me personally and made a commitment to follow him. This understanding and connection to God has made me even more appreciative of the earth he created.

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