This week we took advantage of cheap winter travel prices and got out of town to warmer weather in New Orleans.  Sure the food is fantastic, the music amazing, the culture warm, friendly, and delightfully quirky, but I completely geeked out over the gardens and the trees. The post is all about the amazing beauty and resilience of the mighty tree.

The above are photos of Crepe Myrtles trees.  Both trees are on the same parkway, with one being larger, older, and having a multi-trunk and the other a younger, single trunk version. Both have the same starkly beautiful bark, a trademark of the Crepe Myrtle. The Older one has ferns growing in between the branches. How cool is that!! The Crepe Myrtle has four season color, when you include the spectacular bark.
Here in Illinois the trees in the cool bark club are dominated by the River Birch. chicago-illinois-landscaping-buy-river-birch-trees-online-river-birch-trees
The River Birch is called that because it is a water lover found near or on the banks of rivers.  It’s a native to Illinois, has four season interest, needs moist soil and is pretty hardy, growing fast and large to 25-40 feet tall. There is a dwarf hybrid that grows 8-10 feet tall, which is pictured in this photo. So if you have a spot in your yard with drainage issues, consider the River Birch.
The roots of large, older trees planted in the parkways were literally growing out of their concrete boundaries. Nature will always find a way, no matter how many obstacles we put in the way.  You can see the soil the trees are growing in is compacted, probably from a lot of foot traffic.  Also there is no mulch, which would improve the condition of the soil and perhaps discourage the foot traffic. AND the trees are surrounded by concrete. Yet, still they grow.  In fact, the roots on the middle tree are quite literally growing up and over the sidewalk. There’s a Sci-Fi story in there somewhere!

Looking up, we saw all sorts of things in the branches of the trees that you would not see here. 

Moss . . .

Ferns . . .

Beads . . . lots and lots of Beads.
New Orleans is a happy beautiful place.

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