Pastorius Park: Its history, its trees and a quiz

Tree Talk | May 8th, 2020 | Leave a comment

by Ned Bernard and Pauline Gray Parks can be sanity savers when times are difficult. Forbidden Drive is busier than ever these days as people seek fresh air and exercise. Pastorius Park offers benches for people looking for a few minutes of quiet contemplation without digital interruptions. This popular neighborhood park also provides frazzled parents […]

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Tree Talk: The Hill’s exotic, exponential explosion

Tree Talk | April 10th, 2020 | Leave a comment

by Ned Barnard and Pauline Gray No, we’re not talking about the corona virus. We’re referring to the incredible sylvan floral displays that occur every March along our streets. They start as the Okamé hybrid cherries erupt into clouds of delicate pink blossoms. Then the fireworks really begin when our riotously profligate magnolias unfold their […]

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Sycamores: Plane but not so simple

Tree Talk | February 7th, 2020 | Leave a comment

Tree Talk by Ned Barnardand Pauline Gray With their elegant, bone white upper branches, sycamore trees along Forbidden Drive are easy to spot in winter. Members of the genus Plantanus, sycamores are plane trees native to North America. There are other plane trees in Chestnut Hill, but they aren’t natives. You’ll see these trees if […]

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Tree Talk: At the beech in winter

Tree Talk | January 17th, 2020 | Leave a comment

by Ned Barnard & Pauline Gray Take a winter walk in the Wissahickon woods. Among the bare tree trunks and branches you are likely to spot a few trees, often smaller ones, with papery dried leaves still clinging to their twigs. You will probably recognize them as beech trees by their smooth gray trunks. Often […]

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Tree Talk: O Tannenbaum

Tree Talk | December 12th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by Ned Barnard and Pauline Gray As you enjoy your Christmas tree this year, likely a fir or spruce or pine, regard it with great respect. It is a symbol of rebirth and immortality to many, but to botanists it is also a member of an ancient tribe of trees that first appeared 300 million […]

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Is there witchery in witch hazel?

Tree Talk | November 27th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by Ned Barnard and Pauline Gray As we bicycled up the hill from Valley Green Inn this fall, we saw native witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooming in the Wissahickon woods along the road. Imagine that – a tree blooming in fall! Witch hazel certainly is an oddball. As John Burroughs wrote: “All the trees and […]

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Ginkgo seeds: Yuck or yum?

Tree Talk | November 11th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by Ned Barnard and Pauline Gray The following is the second in a new series of columns by Ned Barnard and his wife Pauline Gray. Barnard is the co-author of several books on trees, including “Central Park Trees and Landscapes” and “Philadelphia Trees: A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley,” which […]

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Are Hill trees ‘texting?’

Tree Talk | October 18th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by Ned Barnard Every day, my wife and I walk to the coffee shop for our cappuccinos. On the way, I’m always looking at trees and things they drop on sidewalks and streets. This year, something is going on with our oaks – at least with red oaks and black oaks. They’re dropping many more […]

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