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A Giving Tree

By Beth Monroe, Public Relations and Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Trees often have a special place in childhood memories. For me, it was a dogwood I loved to climb in my parents’ backyard. About five feet up, the branches made a “V” providing a perfect perch to view the world.

Hopefully the mulberry in our Children’s Garden will provide the same kind of memories for our young visitors. We find it wonderfully ironic that with all of the well-planned features in the Children’s Garden, one of the favorite activities is climbing the mulberry.

Davey Tree professional pruning mulberry in Children’s Garden

As you might expect, this affection has taken a toll. After all, we estimate the tree is more than 100 years old! Trees, unfortunately, do not live forever, but the Garden is doing what it can to extend the life of the mulberry. Yesterday, professionals from Davey Tree visited and carefully removed dead or compromised branches. “Mulberries are very tough trees,” explains Mark Bennett, manager of Davey’s Richmond office. “The work done should help keep the tree available for people to enjoy for years to come. “

The next step will be placing “tree props” beneath it. If you’re familiar with the mulberry, you know low-lying, sprawling branches are part of its great appeal. The tree props will be placed strategically under the branches to take the weight of the climbers and to preserve the integrity of the tree. The Garden’s Geezers, a group of “well-seasoned” volunteers, are building the tree props, so look for them to appear soon.

Pieces of the mulberry tree removed yesterday will continue to play an important role in the Children’s Garden. They’ll be used for educational programs and also in Woodland Pointe, where children create fairy houses and other structures crafted from found objects. Chosen as one of the Remarkable Trees of Virginia , the beloved mulberry in the Children’s Garden continues to provide gifts to us all.

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