We had a lovely evening for a tree walk at the White House Farm! Farm owner Scott C. Plein has carefully chosen native trees for the landscape at the beautifully restored late-1800s brick farmhouse.
Sycamore, redbud and dogwood frame the driveway, providing four-season interest. A pair of swamp white oak anchor the planting near the house, complemented by specimen white oak, tulip poplar and red maple.
As we discussed the benefits of each species in the landscape, we stopped to admire the form and growth habit of the trees, talking about how native trees far surpass non-native species by providing food for local insects, butterflies and moths and therefore, birds, bats, etc. Truly, native trees are the cornerstone of a healthy ecosystem.
The yard has a remarkably healthy hemlock tree, a species rarely seen now in eastern forests due to the hemlock woolly adelgid, a non-native invasive pest. Likely due to good air flow and its solitary status, the White House Farm hemlock is not only producing healthy new shoots but a great crop of cones.
We appreciated the interest and knowledge shared by those who joined the walk as we consulted various guide books and learned different benefits and uses from each. As more people recognize how beautiful and utilitarian native tree and shrub species are, more nurseries will grow them and we will begin to see them more in the landscape and everyone benefits.