bladen

når bladene falder

vi danser på de snart visne blade,
vores snart visnende relation,
jeg ville ønske vi var evigt forår,
men efter sommer, kommer efterår.
vi ses til bladene falder, og så måske aldrig igen.
min ven.

10

These are the bonsai that are currently on display at Longwood Gardens. This is always my favorite exhibit because I’ve been coming to see them for so long, and they are always the same, the steady continuity of them is somehow comforting. The oldest tree is the Ginkgo which began training in 1909, and the Pomegranate following closely at 1910. Which makes the oldest tree over 106 years old, and about two feet tall. The year noted as “began training” is not the year they sprouted, it just means that was the first year they were pruned and wire trained for bonsai. In incredible that even though the Pomegranate tree is so small it produces several full sized pomegranates every season (see below taken October ‘14).

My favorite is the Bald Cypress; which is a species renowned for its longevity and height, some growing well over 100ft tall. The oldest known Bald Cypress, located in Bladen County, North Carolina, is over 1,620 years old, making that individual one of the oldest living plants in eastern North America. To think that this tree is a perfect miniature of a full sized tree shows the incredible patience and discipline that is put into training these plants over, in some cases, generations.

Below is the info on each tree, going from left to right and downward in case you cannot read the tags below each tree:

  • Loose-Flower Hornbeam (Carpinus laxiflora) - Japan & Korea; Birch Family; Training began in 1991.
  • Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Kotobuki’) - Japan; Pine Family; Training began in 1975.
  • Azalea (Rhododendron) - Garden Origin; Heath Family; Training began in the 1970′s.
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) - China; Ginkgo Family; Training began in 1909.
  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum) - SW Asia; Loosestrife Family; Training began in 1910.
  • Bald-Cypress (Taxodium distichum) - SE United States; Cypress Family; Training began in 1988.
  • Crape-Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) - S & E Asia; Loosestrife Family; Training began in 1994.
  • Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) - Japan; Pine Family; Training began in 1949.
  • Hinoki False Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) - Japan; Cypress Family; Training began in 1930.
  • Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum) - China; Maple Family; Training began in 1990.

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4

The season for blueberries used to be short. You’d find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it’s always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

Blueberry farming has a long tradition in Bladen County, N.C., in the southeastern corner of the state. Chris Barnhill, the owner of Blueberry Hill Farms, showed me around his farm. He’s the fourth Barnhill to grow blueberries here.

A couple of hundred workers move slowly down the rows of bushes. Their fingers move quickly, stripping the bushes clean. “They pick by the pound, in buckets,” Barnhill explains. He gestures toward one of the worker. “She already has got six buckets.”

When the buckets are full, workers carry them to a collection station to be weighed. They get a little paper slip that they can turn in once a week for cash.

For Pickers, Blueberries Mean Easier Labor But More Upheaval

Photos: Morgan McCloy/NPR