I (Bob) believe that trees are one of the most beautiful parts of God’s creation. I had always enjoyed and admired trees but our late good friend, Bill DeBoer, is responsible for helping increase my appreciation of them. He collected trees from across North America and had developed quite an arboretum on the side of Sumas Mountain before he passed away. I found his passion for trees to be inspiring. Over the next few months I plan to do several posts of some trees that we have here and hope that people might find them enjoyable and, perhaps, might even find them just a bit inspiring.
In an earlier post about leaving behind our yard in Abbotsford (view it here) I mentioned how our large western red cedar was a favourite and that I used to joke that we would never move from that house because we couldn’t move that tree with its massive trunk. However, when I first saw the Fall colours of the hardwood trees in this area in October during our first visit, I knew that it probably wouldn’t be as difficult to move as I thought it might be.
As an additional wonderful bonus, just over 100 feet from the back of our new house site sits a very large Great Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus). Its circumference, at about 140 inches (i.e. just under 12 feet around), is a little smaller than our western red cedar which was 180 inches circumference (or 15 feet around) but it stands out because rises above a number of young hardwood trees.
For those interested, the Great Eastern White Pine (pinus strobus) grows the largest of any tree species in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. When growing closely together in dense stands, its trunks usually are very straight and they were highly prized for the masts of sailing ships (the masts could be up to 120 feet tall with minimum thickness of 30 inches at the top). When growing alone, its branches become more horizontal and it can take on a windswept look. We especially saw that on the islands in Georgian Bay on our way across Canada (view it here). The picture below from that post stands out in my memory.
In tougher conditions, it can take on a more rugged, twisted look and was made famous by Canada’s Group of Seven painters.
Our Great Eastern White Pine is not straight enough for a mast nor twisted enough for a Group of Seven painting but it is great to have it rising about our soon-to-be back yard.