What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens – Hearts and Trees

What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens – Hearts and Trees

By Melanie Priesnitz Conservation Horticulturist

Inspiration most often finds me while wandering in the woods. Words tend to spill from my fingertips onto the keyboard after a brisk walk. Conveniently Acadia’s Woodland Trails are at the back door of my office, so it’s there that these columns are born. Thoughts come to me best while moving outdoors. Feelings and memories temporarily repressed, come to the surface while walking in familiar woods. My process for clearing my head and focusing on writing is often to walk while thinking of just one word, in this case the word sent to me by the Grapevine editor describing the next issue’s theme. This week, the word was “love” in honour of St. Valentine’s Day. For me love and forests are deeply entwined so this one was easy to connect.

While walking and meditating on love, I passed a myriad of young trees that I have planted with groups during my 16 years tending land at Acadia. I was struck by how much love I felt when I stopped to visit small familiar saplings here and there along my way. Checking in on how my little green friends have weathered the winter so far, I was delighted to see ample water flowing in the stream after a dry fall; reassuring me that this year’s progeny will have water enough to drink. This realization further expanded my feelings of love and filled me with gratitude for the abundance and interconnection of our natural world.

The simple act of planting a tiny tree in the woods or on your own property is a wonderful and selfless act. It’s a gift for the future, a gift to our planet. There’s an old proverb that says “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” I believe this to be very true. If you have not experienced this form of love recently I encourage you to participate in planting this spring. As selfless as the act may seem, tree planting has the selfish benefit of making you feel great about helping to nurture a future that is green.

Photo: Acadia students feeling the love while planting trees on Earth Day last year.

Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens
Acadia University