Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

The Wisdom of Ginkgo

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, Ginkgo

Hello fellow readers,

I recently attended the Woody Plant Conference held at The Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, PA. We learned about new plants and the dozen or more years it takes from propagation before they become available to buy. Plant patents, once rare, are now commonplace. Then there’s a plant that has its own ‘brand’ so to speak that dates back to the age of the dinosaur.

Peter Crane, formerly the Director of the Kew, The Royal Botanic Gardens in London, spoke about his book Ginkgo: The Tree that Time Forgot. It’s a fascinating biography of a tree that hasn’t changed much in 200 million years. Most likely due to environmental change, Crane explained, ginkgo was ‘in retreat and survived only in China.’ But when its health benefits became known it ‘was brought back from the brink of extinction’ about a thousand years ago.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, Ginkgo

Ginkgo espalier at The Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA

The nuts are a delicacy in Asian cultures while we use extracts from the leaves as a supplement to sharpen the mind. You can read about a host of conditions that ginkgo is said to help such as memory loss, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing disorders; even leg pain associated with poor circulation.

With its extraordinary endurance, ginkgo has become a symbol of longevity, health, and wellness. It can withstand pollution and live in narrow spaces, hence is commonly seen on city streets. They’re often a commemorative tree as well; such as in Hoboken NJ across from where the World Trade Center once stood.

Crane pictorially described the iconic fan-shaped leaves that turn lemon yellow and drop almost all at the same time, leaving a carpet of gold in the fall which adds to its ‘horticultural prominence.’

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba at The Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA

This remarkable tree has an unusual reproductive system. No other tree has the process of fertilization that involves the production of swimming male cells, explained Crane. And male trees are most widely planted as the female trees produce an apricot looking fruit that smells like a combination of dog feces and vomit. But don’t hold that against them. Ginkgo biloba is one of the longest living tree species in the world. The oldest one on record lived 3,500 years.

Peter Crane so eloquently writes, ‘The evolutionary and cultural life story of ginkgo connects us to the deep history of our planet and asks us to reflect more often and think more carefully about all we lose when the short view rules our world and everything in it.’ Powerful wisdom we can learn from a tree.

Garden Dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

 

 

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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