Trees Please

Going for walks around our city this spring was such a delight. There are so many gorgeous trees in Fort St. john. It is the bloomiest city in the spring! I suppose most Canadian cities and towns are, but I am happy to note that we are no exception.

May Days, lilacs and an assortment of crab apples are the main stars of our spring lineup. There are two May Day trees a few blocks from us, that were nothing short of breathtaking. They were pruned to perfection; total twins and absolutely awash with white blossoms. As we drove by on our way to work and then back home again, the pair never failed to lift our spirits.

And then, true to their name, as the month of May exited stage left, the trees bowed, shed their white load and the show was over. They have gone back to being a pair of nondescript trees that people can-and do-drive past without a second glance. Ah, but next May they will once again take center stage. I am already looking forward to their next performance. And next spring I will get a picture. I kept meaning to and then it was too late.

As for us, we have a May Day (but only one) and three mountain ash, four lilacs, two cedar, an apple, one weeping birch and a maple tree on our small lot. Pressed against the other side of our back fence are a trio of young aspen poplars that are not ours and will be nothing but trouble down the road. Still, I love to listen to the chatter of their leaves when the wind picks up. It’s a sound that has played in the background of my life for over half a century. It makes me feel at home.

From my chair in the living room I can see an enormous burgundy leaved crab apple tree in our neighbour’s yard. It is just spectacular. Rising behind it to dizzying height is none other than a tamarack. When we first moved in we thought it was a gangly dead pine, but come spring out popped thousands of fresh green needles. I am delighted that I get to watch this transformation year after year from my chair. I can’t wait to watch the needles turn golden in the fall. Well, I’m not that anxious for fall, but you know what I mean. A tamarack seems like such an unusual choice for an urban backyard, but I am happy the choice was made.

Okay this is a horrible picture but it’s windy outside and what with the reflection of the glass…well, enough excuses. This is what I see from my living room chair. To the left are two of three aspens (not ours) and then our neighbour’s burgundy leaved tree with the tamarack towering behind it.


If you’re looking to buy a house, take the time to see what the neighbours have for trees because they will become part of your life as well.

If you have no trees don’t despair. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

And it really is now.

Trees and shrubs are coming on sale at the garden centres and it is still an excellent time of the year to get them in the ground.

When digging your hole for a new tree remember to go wide. It is easy to think a tall tree will have a long deep tap root, but they don’t. Their roots usually scramble out sideways instead, so ensuring they have lots of wiggle room around them filled with good soil is the best way to grow.

Woman digging in garden