Living

Letters for a heritage tree

For a chance to win a rare heritage tree seed packet, readers sent us the reasons why they would like to plant these special seeds

We received lots of letters for a chance to win a rare heritage tree seed packet from Diana Beresford-Kroeger who was featured in the Field of Miracles story in the June issue of Chatelaine. Here are some of the reasons why our readers would like to grow the tree:

Green gifts

I’ve never been more inspired to enter a contest than I was after reading “Field of Miracles” by Karen York in the June issue of Chatelaine. My in-laws have 25 acres of land named “Idle-a-While,” and it is a sacred retreat from the frenzy of city life for my husband and our son. Every time a person officially joins my husband’s family, a new tree is planted at the farm in his or her honour. My sister-in-law was recently married and a new tree has yet to be planted to welcome her husband to the family. How wonderful it would be to honour him with a rare heritage tree! But the biggest reason for wanting these seeds is simply to honour Diana and her wish: “If everyone would do this, just plant or tend a tree, it would make a huge difference and give our children a future.” – Jennifer Foster, Toronto ON

My dad loves trees. As kids growing up in Bowmanville, Ont., my dad used to take us on nature walks where he would tell the story of many different types of trees. Our property contained many varieties, all of which he planted. Today, my dad lives in Owen Sound. We still gather seeds anywhere (by now the grandchildren are also involved) and he has planted row upon row of various trees – especially maples. It would be an honour to receive one of your seed packets for him. I know that the water ash tree would become his new story. It is also with some selfishness I write this: I too have become a tree lover, but the fact that the water ash attracts the swallowtail butterfly links to my interest in wildlife. If the seed packet contains a few seeds, I may just cajole my father into sharing them – but we’ll see how that goes. – Rosemary Schmegner

I would like to plant a wafer ash tree on my parents’ retirement property. When they bought it two years ago, the yard was bare. They’ve been planting trees, shrubs and flowers since moving in. My mom takes great care in planning the yard’s layout to incorporate many different species of plants and these trees would add to the biodiversity. I want to show my parents how much I care about them and the environment by helping them plant these endangered trees. – Nicole Moffat, Regina SK

My father recently invested in a country property in Warkworth, Ontario. The property is half cultivated garden, half wilderness, with a large patch of forest where deer are a common sight. Every time I visit my father takes me on a tour of the property, showing off his oaks, maples, evergreens, fruit and nut trees. My father’s true loves are his most recent acquisitions: six black walnut trees. He told me once that those tiny trees are my inheritance. I know he would be delighted at a chance to grow a native wafer ash. I can promise you that any seed will flourish under my father’s careful care and I would love to share in his enjoyment of them. – Stephanie van den Berg

For the kids

I loved, loved, loved the article featuring Diana Beresford-Kroeger in the June 2011 issue. The hoptree seeds would be wonderful commemoration of the birth of our 6-month-old son, Jake. We would divide the seeds between our modest suburban backyard and my parents’ much-larger backyard. This way Jake can watch them grow as he does… and the botany and history lessons of the trees will be a bonus!! Fingers crossed. – Jennifer Dean

My husband and I just gave birth to our first son on May 10th. It would be a great honour to plant a tree celebrating his birth. It would enable us to watch both our son and the tree grow and mature in our backyard over the years! – Janelle Fisher, Kingston ON

Nature’s bounty

I come from a long line of prairie farmers, and it must be in our blood: my siblings and all of our children must get our hands in the soil to feel right in the world. When each grandchild was born, their parents planted a fruit tree in their honour. It seems we follow the tradition that as we tend to the growth of a child, we must tend the earth and her children. If we could win the tree seeds we would all be delighted. A rare heritage tree – wouldn’t that be something! – Marlene Cheng, West Vancouver, BC

My family has been planting trees since we moved into our home over 30 years ago, but many of the ones on our property had been cut down by the city as they were either diseased (our beautiful oaks!) or very old and considerably damaged. My husband and I planted many trees with our children, and they take great pride in their contributions to the lives of our trees. We are looking forward to a future chapter of our lives with grandchildren, and showing them the beauty and wonder of nature. We would consider it an honour and privilege to plant these seeds and relate to everyone the history of how they came to be. – Beverly Beauchamp, Lachine QC

In 2004, we purchased my husband’s 188-acre family property in Nova Scotia. Last year we decided to plant a section of trees in the yard and my husband and son planted and tended 1/3 of an acre (by hand!). This spring we planted 1,200 more plants. In addition, I have a small lavender farm and am studying to become a Master Gardener. When I read your article in Chatelaine, I immediately connected with Diana’s quest to create and educate using the living things that inhabit our land. The seeds that you are offering serve as a link between the past and present for us, and are a symbol of our farm. I hope that you will choose us to help preserve this endangered tree. – Brenda Bailey, NS

How I’d love to have the chance to grow these seeds! My husband and I are fortunate to have a very large yard, and we already grow a nice variety of trees such as fir, green ash, oak and crabapple trees. We grow most of our own vegetables and herbs and try to be good stewards of the land. I believe the article “Field of Miracles” is the best I’ve read in Chatelaine and it is truly inspiring. I know we would find a good place for these special future trees in our welcoming yard. – Caresse Rutledge, Calgary AB

I am hoping to win a seed packet because I am in the process of creating a habitat for butterflies and birds in my backyard. We have a 1/3 acre lot and when we bought the house it was nothing but mud, weeds and blackberry canes. Over the past 15 years we have planted several trees and put in perennial beds. I use the garden to teach my children about the rhythms of the seasons. Thanks very much. – Carolyn Sawicki, Burford, ON

I am entering this contest as a 20-year-old biology student at the University of Ottawa. I am going into my fourth and final year of undergraduate studies and have recently decided that I do not want to be a doctor or a dentist—I want to continue my education in the area of plant science (I’m especially interested in medicinal plants). The more courses I took in ecology and plant biology throughout my university career, the more educated I became in this area and my true passion revealed itself. This summer I plan to plant a garden in my essentially empty backyard in my hometown, Whitby. We have a small vegetable patch along the side of the house, a few flowering trees and an excessive amount of grass. This endangered, medicinal tree would be a great addition to my garden and possibly serve as inspiration for future research. – Katie Woolfson, Whitby ON

Diana, I have your book, Arboretum America, A Philosophy of the Forest, and was very excited to read your article in Chatelaine. I was even more excited when I discovered there was an opportunity to win the native wafer ash seeds. My garden has many plants that are attractive to birds and butterflies. I have recently received my Master Gardener’s certificate from the Ontario Master Gardeners and I am a Heritage Gardener in North Bay. The Heritage Gardeners are volunteers that care for over 50 beds at our waterfront on Lake Nippissing. – Vicki Doucette, North Bay ON


In memoriam

I am a Chatelaine reader and recently enjoyed “Field of Miracles” in the June issue. I would be thrilled to win the chance to grow a rare heritage tree. My interest goes beyond the uniqueness of this tree and its heritage. I have been searching for a special memorial tree to plant in memory of my mother, Adamae Brown. She was almost 99 years old when she passed away in May. My mom always loved growing bushes and flowers. She was a nature girl that grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and her favourite poem was Joyce Kilmer’s I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. I think this hoptree would be a great memorial tree. – Mary Lang

I read “Field of Miracles” by Karen York with great interest. The timing of the article could not have been better as I am in the process of planning gardens for my new home. Just over a year ago, my husband and I had the privilege of purchasing our very first home thanks to a generous gift inherited from my dear mom, who passed away after more than a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s. I would very much love to win these seeds so I could plant them in memory and honour of my mom, who gave us the means to purchase a home and who was passionate about nature. Thank you for your consideration. – Trish Joyce, North Delta BC