THE BEAUTY OF TREES
Since the homebound life of the pandemic, I have been studying urban ecosystems in Wallingford, from our gardens to our urban wildlife. Today I invite you to pay attention to our trees. Trees provide us with the always-soothing effect of natural beauty. Trees provide shade from heat and improve air quality wherever they are. The effects of last summer’s heat dome would doubtless have been worse without our tree canopy. Trees serve as protection against the effects of our current climate catastrophe.
Part of what makes Wallingford such a beautiful area is its trees. Some are non-natives that have been selected for their unusual beauty. Some are natives that are older than most of the homes of our neighborhood. In every season and in every direction, a walk in Wallingford shows trees: solitary, crowded, sometimes clustered in family groups; dense with varied foliage or with limbs like ink against our gray winter sky.
THREE LOCAL GROVES
Here are suggestions for three different groves of trees to visit: one that will remind you of the beauty of our Pacific northwest landscape; and two that may bring gratitude for Wallingford’s foresighted landscapers.
If you are ever walking along North 39th Street between Burke Avenue and Meridian Avenue, look down! You are guaranteed to notice a lot of small-to-medium sized, soft, cute pine cones. If you look up, you will realize that you’re under some really tall pine trees. There is a grove of five beautiful Douglas Fir trees, spanning both sides of the street. This type of tree used to cover much of Seattle’s earth and we have a little group of survivors. Also, there is often lively bird action in this grove.
At the end of June, have you ever walked around Wallingford Center and noticed a sweet honey-like fragrance? There is a strip of Linden trees on Burke Avenue North between North 44th and North 45th, making a beautiful edge along the Center’s parking lot. They have delicately pointed oval leaves and tiny white flowers that usually bloom before the Fourth of July. They give this busy retail area a parklike feeling.
Do you take your dog to Wallingford Playfield for the Twilight Bark? Look to the southeast corner of the park by the tennis courts. You will notice the impressive grouping of huge, thick-trunked, knobbly barked trees. This group of Sycamore trees work as a kind of umbrella, should you be caught in the rain!