OpEd

Story published: 01-22-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

ETSU Conifer Garden will be sorely missed by many

By Jeanne Cope
H&T Columnist/ Master Gardener

As many of you know, I have written about the Dwarf Conifer Garden at East Tennessee State University many times over the last nine years.

A favorite spot for studying various conifers, looking at the names and selecting the varieties that fit nicely into home landscaping.

I have enjoyed a picnic or simply sitting on a bench to enjoy the blending of greens, grays and golds of the various trees that blended into the beauty of the conifer garden.

As we all know, what someone may love, others may not care for or may even dislike. Such is life.

The Dwarf Conifer Garden has now been removed.

Removal marks the end of an era of special specimen trees for students, faculty and the public to enjoy and learn from.

This is a sad event for those of us who realize years are needed to regrow the large specimens that were cut to the ground and cannot regrow in our lifetimes.

Granted, a few of the smaller trees were dug and replanted at the east side of the mini-dome.

No one knows if these small trees will survive the replanting.

Interestingly this is only phase one of a new plan to create the “President’s Green.”

Some ancient trees are also set to be removed, as is the veteran’s memorial.

Change is certain in all things and throughout life. It is a test to see how we, as humans can or cannot adapt to change.

The younger we are, the less change may bother us.

Conversely, the older we are, the harder it is to say goodbye to something that has been a part of our lives for years, such as an old friend.

Flexibility is always the key to our survival.

The sun will still shine tomorrow, the sky will be blue as usual, and the transplanted trees may indeed grow for years before someone decides they are so unimportant that they, too, must follow the path of their elder conifers, and be cut to the ground.

I noticed just this evening, in Gray a business has opened with landscaping incorporating the same variety of arborvitae that I so loved, green with bold golden tips on every branch.

I counted 12 of these magnificent trees standing as soldiers in full dress uniforms along the perimeter of the property.

How delightful on a dark rainy day, to enjoy the golden light emitted by the proud branches on these conifers.

Surely a landscaper with a sharp eye for the style, elegance and character contributed by conifers designed this plan.

May we follow the lead of the business in Gray, and plant more of these lovely trees. Happy Gardening Everyone!

Jeanne Cope is a freelance garden writer and UT Lifetime Master Gardener. Research her at jeannecope.com or email jeanne@jean