Life grows on
Wednesday May 20th 2009, 8:47 pm
Filed under: My Garden

imgp7651Michelle and I went looking today to see if we could find out what this tree is. Like the fig, it’s just something that happened to pop up in the yard courtesy of something that climbed or flew. The natural order of things. I’d always thought of it as a pretty weed.

We narrowed it to an Ailanthus or, to my surprise, a black walnut.  I can guess which ones the squirrels would be more interested in.  She broke off a sprig and brought it in to the computer.  The nut husk is supposed to be green on a walnut; this beginning one among new leaves is a brown wooden bead of a thing with the slightest greenishness at its base. I was surprised; we’d never noticed any degree of nuts growing on it.


Just a random tree in a random place, but I’ve always liked it. I’m an Easterner, I want all the green I can get.  It got me thinking about cultivated trees: how you cut off a twig in the right place from one you want more of, tree-t it right, and it’ll sprout roots and grow upwards and downwards into a whole beautiful new one. When it gets big enough, you can repeat the process again till you eventually create a whole forest or more of trees, all of them part of and connected to that one original specimen.  Which may die of blight or eventual old age, yet still an integral, connected part of itself continues on without end to give to those who partake of the nuts or fruit or whatever good quality that tree has to give.

Plant enough of them and we’ll outnumber the squirrels yet.

12 Comments so far
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Well, well, a Black Walnut. Squirrels doing God’s work?

A senior citizen drove his brand-new Corvette convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the road he floored it to 80 mph enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left. “Amazing,” he thought, as he flew down I-95 pushing the pedal even more. Looking in his rear-view mirror, he saw a state trooper behind him, lights flashing and siren blaring.

He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 140.  Suddenly he thought, “What am I doing? I’m too old for this,” and pulled over to await the trooper’s arrival. Pulling in behind him, the trooper walked up to the Corvette, looked at his watch and said,  “Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a reason for speeding that I’ve never heard before, I’ll let you go.”

The old gentleman paused and then said, “Years ago, my wife ran off with a State Trooper. I was afraid you were bringing her back!”

“Have a good day, sir,” replied the trooper.

Comment by Don Meyer 05.20.09 @ 9:50 pm

From the closeup pic of the leaf and nut it def isnt a walnut. The color is wrong, shape is wrong and the “fruit” isnt green. Unfortunately I cant tell ya what it is only what it isnt. Black walnuts are all over the place here and the squirrels definitely LOVE them 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 05.21.09 @ 3:50 am

Isn’t nature interesting! Would we could let it run wild and see what happens.

Hmmmm…I have an older black walnut tree and a few that I’ve started from the fruit, but they are a bit different..could be the picture or difference in climate.

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 05.21.09 @ 5:47 am

The Knight LOVES black walnuts. Wonder if I could manage one in our yard?

Comment by Channon 05.21.09 @ 5:55 am

I love your pictures, sometimes they are the only green things I see during the day. nothing wants to grow here. Black walnuts are beautiful, so are figs. Looks like G-d is sending a lot of fruit your way.

Comment by Henya 05.21.09 @ 6:04 am

All of you readers who have black walnut trees, keep they near and dear to you. My brother spoke of rustlers in Iowa cutting down black walnut trees in the dead of night. Seems they have become a valuable lumber commodity.

I know I love my Brittany black walnut needles and hooks. It’s a shame they had to give up making them for lack of sufficient wood resources.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 05.21.09 @ 6:21 am

Being an Eastener, like yourself, I want green everywhere (and colorful flowers). I really missed the trees when I was out in Montana (Big Sky country) for a couple of weeks.

Can something really outnumber those squirrels? They sure like my feeders and I need to “squirrel proof” them before I leave for Denver so the birds will have a fair chance.

Comment by Joansie 05.21.09 @ 7:04 am

It looks like some sort of sumac. If the triffids ever want to take over they should start in your garden!

Comment by LynnM 05.21.09 @ 7:13 am

Still thinking about that tree…just went out and checked on my small black walnut trees.
Here’s a way to verify if the tree in the pic is truly a black walnut. (Sumacs are very similar in looks.) If you remember what the just opened, green husk of a black walnut smells like you can tell if that tree is what you think it is. Hold a young branch close to your face, and give it a sniff. You’ll know. 🙂

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 05.21.09 @ 12:06 pm

It’s lovely, whatever it is. Our phlox are putting on a big show this week. I’ll try and take some photos for my blog when oscar is home tomorrow to ‘spot’ me.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 05.21.09 @ 2:00 pm

Can you show a picture of the bark? Toni may have a point, it could very well be Sumac which do happen to have the brown/red bead like nuts on them. You should be able to tell not only by smelling but also by looking at the bark and the consistancy of the wood as well.

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 05.21.09 @ 6:56 pm

Sumac is a weed–grew everywhere in the field. Had walnuts, too. Sumac bark is smooth, walnut bark is deeply groovy. Doesn’t look like Walnut to me.

Comment by Karen 06.03.09 @ 5:24 pm

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