Many green thumbs. One Chinese proverb.
Two times in one week a certain quote popped up. Both users credited ancient Chinese wisdom: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.”
Here are the two places the saying was used (I love coincidence):
* A recent Saturday afternoon found eight good-hearted folks planting trees — and doing some litter patrol — at a Roanoke River Greenway site across from the old Bastian’s parking lot (or Lendy’s, to those-of-us-of-a-certain-age).
The eight volunteers were Mark McClain, Diana Christopulos, Roger and Ellen Holtman, Betsy and David Freund, Anne Perrin and Henry Woodward.
Hazelnut shrubs and redbud were the seedlings du jour. Via email chief tree-wrangler McClain explained that this spring 28 trees were planted at this and a site just upriver between East Riverside and the Greenway. (He included the proverb.)
“These were replacement trees for ones that were planted there two years ago that did not survive,” he wrote. About 50 volunteers had planted 205 trees then.
A Salem citizen appointee to the Greenway Commission, Mark is currently serving as chairman. He has organized three seedling sites along this stretch of the Greenway, and helped with one across the river from Salem’s water treatment plant.
Care is taken to restore a “natural vegetation area” after Greenway construction. Trees selected are native species and suitable for the site (say, not too tall for power lines). The Virginia Department of Forestry is consulted; seedlings are purchased from its nursery.
And those plastic tubes — “tree shelters” — act like little greenhouses, protecting the wee trees from critters, direct sun and the mowing crew.
Along with redbud and hazelnut, look for red maple, tulip poplar, sycamore, red-twig dogwood, silky dogwood and chinquapin (the small relative of the chestnut was once abundant in forests).
“Other plantings along the Greenway in Salem have been done by scout groups, schools and the city,” wrote Mark. Several members of Salem Garden Club were among the shovel-wielders on this particular Saturday.
He added that although Salem invests in plantings, private donations to Pathfinders for Greenways help. See http://greenways.org/ Current info on construction, events, walks and volunteering is also on Facebook: facebook.com/roanokevalleygreenways. Your photos are welcomed, too.
* Jim Crawford used the tree-quote in his film, “Urban Lots, Garden Plots: Growing Food and Community in the Star City.”
You might recognize local spaces and faces in the 30-minute DVD, available at public libraries and also for sale at Roanoke Natural Foods Coop, $10. Perfect for a club meeting, it could inspire a community-, backyard- — or even a bold front-yard-garden.