Reflecting on the Past and Seeing the Beauty of Trees

— Written By and last updated by Sarah Roberson

As we start a new year it is a great time to reflect on the year that has just ended. I have to make myself do this because as a new year begins I am focused on the next event on the calendar and tend to forget to relish the past.

I will start with thanking the Daily Reflector for their support of me writing a gardening article each week. It is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my job with N.C. Cooperative Extension. This article provides a means to share timely information on gardening that is research based and helps readers with solutions to their gardening problems or questions.

I also owe a big thank you to our Extension Master Gardener Volunteers who staff an office to answer gardening questions, provide outreach to the community through presentations/community events/projects, and promote the Pitt County Arboretum while also serving as curators and volunteers in it’s gardens. During 2012 they donated 518 pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, raised funds for the Arboretum through their plant sale, and donated over 6,700 hours of their time to N.C. Cooperative Extension in Pitt County. Their generous and enthusiastic donation of time allows me to focus some educational efforts toward commercial horticulture.

Also special thanks to the Vidant Medical Center Foundation for their support of the Community Garden Technician position held by Joni Torres (originally funded by a Blue Cross Blue Shield grant and a Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant). With their support Joni and her dedicated garden volunteers have been able to improve the Making Pitt Fit Community Garden located on County Home Road adjacent to Alice Keene Park and across from Wintergreen School while also providing educational support for other school and community gardens in the county. She provided gardening education to 569 adults and children in 2012 while focusing on increasing physical activity and introducing children to healthy foods.

As I reflect on the past I am still reminded of that calendar I mentioned before. As you read this we have started 2013 Master Gardener Training in Pitt County, Joni is registering community gardeners for 2013 (there are some plots left in the organic section so call her at 902-1756 if you are interested), I am preparing for our Eastern North Carolina Landscape Conference and we are all looking forward to a successful year in home gardening, community gardening, and commercial horticulture.

One of the events coming quickly is the January 26th “Seeing Trees” event hosted by Pitt County Master Gardeners to help support the Pitt County Arboretum. The event will be at the Pitt County Agricultural Center, 403 Government Circle, Greenville, NC 27834 and is being promoted by us at N.C. Cooperative Extension in Pitt County, the Greenville Museum of Art, and ReLeaf. The sponsors are Anderson Pine Straw and Mulch, Carolina Seasons Nursery, C.D. Rouse, and Little’s Nursery. Sponsors will have booths set up in mini-garden show fashion at 9 a.m. to answer your equipment, landscaping, mulching, and plant selection questions. Nancy Hugo, outdoor writer and lecturer, will speak at 10 a.m. on the topic of her latest book “Seeing Trees”. She will share some of the secrets she and photographer Robert Llewellyn discovered in their two-year investigation of seeds, catkins, cones, flowers, buds, emerging leaves and other small details often overlooked by us. Her presentation will include some of Robert Llewellyn’s photographs, which will be featured in an event coming to the Greenville Museum of Art at a later date. These photographs and her descriptions will open our eyes to the small beauties right in front of us each day. We often pause to enjoy the shade of a large tree or the diversity of colors in the fall, but have you paused to see the beauty of leaves unfolding, buds swelling, flowers opening, or seed pods splitting? What about the patterns of tree bark or peacefulness of a falling maple seed as it flutters to the ground? I am sure I miss some of the beauty trees provide by not slowing down, looking closely, and thinking small enough. There are limited tickets available for presale at $20 each at the N.C. Cooperative Extension office in Pitt County, 403 Government Circle, Greenville, NC 27834. Call Sarah Roberson at 902-1709 for ticket purchase information.

If you have questions about your lawn, garden, or landscape, the Master Gardener’s voicemail is available anytime at 902-1705. They are in the office during the winter on Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for walk-ins, to take calls, and to return calls. You can also email questions to Hugo