Monday, April 12, 2010

Loving My Live Oaks

This is the time of year I like to remind myself of how much I love the live oak trees growing at My Garden Path. 

This beautiful double trunked oak covers half the backyard.  Soon the gingers, firespikes, impatiens and caladiums will fill up the now mostly empty area.  Usually the month of March looks like this with April bringing lots of growth of foliage and flowers.  The garden seems to be slow coming back this year but it is coming back and for that I'm grateful. 

There are a total of ten oak trees on our little .4 of an acre lot.  There are six live oaks and four oaks of unknown variety.  They keep the house cool in summer and make sitting  and playing with the grands outside very pleasant. 


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There are a few drawbacks to having so many trees on such a small space.  It's just one month out of the year, but pollen, inches thick, covering the stepping stones along the path, the rooftop, the driveway.....
Those garbage bags are full of mulched oakleaves picked up before the pollen fall and just waiting to enrich the soil.  I'm not saying the leaves are a drawback, just the pollen.  And, yes, I am allergic to oak pollen.
That's why I must look up and enjoy the new green leaves erupting from those lovely twisted branches.  Just a week or two more and this pollen will be but a memory.  I'll be gardening beneath the oak canopy enjoying a full 10 degrees cooler temperature than in the sunshine and I'll be loving my live oaks once again. 


  1. I love your oak trees. Our neighbor has some kind of oak next door, and part of it hangs over into our property. All that pollen stuff is piled up on that side of DH's workshop. I should have raked the leaves up earlier for mulch. Can you use the pollen stuff on the ground mixed with leaves for mulch?

    It does give us nice shade in the afternoon. Here in sunny, humid FL we definitely need all the shade we can get.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  2. Those oak trees are super-messy, aren't they? I too have spring allergies that make life miserable this time of year. But you can't beat a live oak for shade. We have one on our back lot line, and get the benefit of half a tree. Another neighbor's oak hangs into our yard several feet, and I take advantage of its shade as well. You are lucky to have so many mature trees! And, yeah, those leaves are wonderful!

  3. With all those Oak leaves I bet you can grow some super Azalea bushes. As for the leaves it's funny how one can have either too much of something or not enough. And the faces on the trees made me laugh. My wife put one on my mango stump. I don't know must be a woman thing......

  4. That live oak tree looks beautiful. With 10 degree cooler, I think it definetely worths it! Besides you can grow all kinds of shade love plants under it :) I only have one small oak tree in the front coming with the original builder. I don't know what kind of oak tree it is, but now it finally done with leave/pollen falling, I love that lush green look. It is still a small one compare to yours. Hope the pollen stuff is done soon for you, so that you can come out enjoying the gardening more.

  5. FlowerLady - You can use the pollen mixed with the leaves as it disintegrates fairly rapidly. I have areas that are self-mulching directly under the oaks and the pollen falls there with the leaves. It is usually gone a month or so after it falls.

    Floridagirl - Sorry you have allergies too. It makes it rough to work outside this time of year. But you are right, I am lucky to have these mature trees and I do love them the rest of the year.

    sanddune - Yes, I have huge azaleas. I guess those tree faces are probably a woman thing, but my grandkids love them. I put a Santa hat on the one that's just outside my front door when it is Christmas time.

    Ami - You will be amazed how fast your oak will grow. You are right that there are a lot of shade loving plants from which to choose. Before I started gardening in earnest four years ago, I thought I could only grow azaleas and ferns. Now I know better.

  6. I can't imagine a Florida garden -- or an English landscape (my original home) -- without oak trees (albeit different species). I think we will have a zillion acorns this year because, after the freeze, the trees produced an astonishing amount of flowers, which have now been used as mulch. :-)

  7. Penny - I think you're right about the acorns. I've never seen an English garden in person, but someday maybe I'll be able. I am always so sad to see the new housing developments around my area going up after flattening the landscape and planting non-native plants and one baby oak tree. Being in an older neighborhood does have some advantages.

  8. Your photos make my eyes water, NanaK!
    I have no oaks so I've been happily scavenging my neighbors' raked-up, bagged-up leaves for mulch. What a great freebie! I dump it all over, then top dress with pine bark nuggets in the spots that need to look more presentable.
    I'm hoping I'm not also planting acorns, but I haven't seen any in my dumps so maybe this isn't acorn season. Or maybe I really need to get that lens prescription filled.

  9. Penny - The acorns usually come down in the fall so you should be safe.

  10. That double oak reminds me of the movie the Da Vinci Code. In the movie they discuss symbology in famous paintings like the Last Supper. The V shape that oak forms is similar to the shape in some famous paintings. Sorry to get intense...I know it's just a pretty tree.

  11. I couldn't finish my 'catch-up comments' without saying something about your beautiful oaks. What a wonderful treasure they are... in every way. Adjusting to planting shade plants is a small tweak in our thinking compared to being without the shade in summertime.

    When I planted the oaks in our backyard almost 20 years ago (then the entire back yard was a blanket of green grass only) I didn't even have a garden in mind only that we needed to match the relieving shade of the oaks from the front garden. Now I am SOOOOO happy I planted them because they were growing while I was raising my family and didn't have much time to garden. They surely have come in handy for keeping things cooler in summer and warmer in winter. I LOVE them. And I love yours, too. Everything about them, the leaves in spring, the new lime green growth, the beautiful bark, the shade, the strength and courage they display just by standing erect and tall all day in and day out.

    Even with the excessive leaves and pollen this year (thanking God I've no allergies) my son bagged up over 15 bags from his yard to give me. I'm in oak leaf heaven and so is my garden.

    You've got a lot of trees for the size of your lot. It surprises me you have any sunny corners. :-) Meems


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