Winter Not-So-Wonderland

Well, I guess Nature giveth and Nature taketh away.

We do have a great collection of trees at Green-Wood Cemetery–an expert from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens recently described our trees as the best collection of mature trees in New York City. We have about 7,000 trees–some just getting started, some more than a century old.

The recents storms that swept through Brooklyn, with strong winds and wet snow, were not kind to Green-Wood Cemetery’s trees. Heavy snow and wind are never a good thing for trees. While it looks like no trees were uprooted by these forces, many (perhaps a hundred or so, by the estimate of our Superintendent of the Grounds, Art Presson) were damaged, most by having limbs snapped off. The beech tree pictured above was particularly hard hit–you can see the large section of this wonderful tree that has split off and fallen to the right. Because of the split along the trunk, this tree is likely a total loss.

And this blue Atlas cedar was also heavily damaged–I count 5 good-sized branches that have snapped off. You can see them scattered on the ground. Hopefully this lovely tree will survive.

It is a blessing that, with all these branches coming down, it does not appear that any monuments were damaged.

I was a bit depressed as I walked out of Green-Wood yesterday, having seen all this damage. But then I saw hellebores in bloom, witch hazel flowering, and daffodils with their foliage several inches out of the ground, getting ready for their show in a few weeks. It is all part of the cycle of life, the spring rebirth. Before we know it the trees will be leafing out, with that wonderful pale green color, the copper beeches will be sprouting their vividly-hued leaves, the bulbs will be blooming, and magnolias, azaleas, and rhodos will not be far behind. Let’s go spring! Are we ever ready!!!

1 thought on “Winter Not-So-Wonderland”

  1. I also drove and walked around for hours yesterday in the cemetery taking note of the damage and inspecting the trees and shrubs. It made me so sad to see these trees so broken and bent. As an amatuer naturalist and birder who has walked the grounds of Green-Wood for decades, I know our trees very well and, many of them are personal favorites. I can tell right away when a tree has been removed due to disease or other pertinent reason and Ill inquire about it because I love our trees. They are very special. The trees of Green-Wood attract many birds, they provide nest sites, shelter and their blooms and seeds provide food. Our mature yew trees, which are bent severely, allow certain birds to “overwinter” within its dense interior. Green-Wood has magnificent century old trees that are not found anywhere else in Brooklyn. As part of the Wednesday trolley tour, I talk about our trees and how magnificent and special they are. Some pre-date the cemetery. A tree had to be taken down by Dell Water last year. Cliff, our aborist and I, counted over 200 rings. More than 2 centuries old! It was there when the Battle of Brooklyn was fought on the cemetery grounds. As you stated, Nature giveth, nature taketh away. Many of us that love Green-Wood and its trees are sad over seeing our trees hurt like this.

    Spring is coming and with that is renewal. Green-Wood has the best aborists and groundskeepers in their field who love the trees and will do whatever they can to save them.

    If you havent visited Green-Wood lately, please come this spring and see the beauty of our magnificent trees. Come and see ” the best collection of mature trees in NYC” in addition to our wonderful sculptures, monuments and battlefield atop Battle Hill. Come and hear stories about the famous and infamous that reside within our beautiful 478 acres.

    Marge Raymond
    Green-Wood Historic Fund Tour Guide.


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