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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Le mardi des arbres/Tree Tuesday: Last post

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Apple leaves, November

It’s with a tinge of sadness that I write this last Tree Tuesday/Le mardi des arbres. Sad, because I’ve enjoyed this past year of observing trees through a camera lens, of figuring out my tree language in French, and of having a lively exchange with many Spacing Montreal readers. I’ve also learned so much about our city by reading fellow SM writers.

As some of you may know, I am now writing a weekly column in the Sunday Gazette. The title is Island of Trees and every week I’ll be introducing a new tree growing on or around the island of Montreal. Given that I’m paid to do this, I can invest a little more time in the column and will travel farther on the island than I was able to for Tree Tuesday.

However, more money comes with less space –  400 words is my limit at least, for now – so, when needed, I will put complimentary information, such as where to see this tree, on my blog where I will also take comments and questions.

Speaking of this tree, this apple tree that we planted in our backyard 17-and-a-half years ago, don’t you find the golden leaves exquisite? For some reason, plants in the rose family, which include all fleshy-fruited trees in the temperate zone such as pears, plums, cherries, apricots, serviceberries, hawthorns, etc., keep their leaves late into the fall. Some apple trees are still bearing fruit.

I won’t say more about the tree now except that we ought to plant far more apples – and fruit and nut-bearing trees, in general. I have visions of fruit trees espaliered on the fences in allies, just they were three centuries ago in the walled gardens of New France when the citizenry knew that a warm stone wall would encourage a fruit tree a little out of its zone. Go see such trees at the garden of the Château Ramsay.

One of the people I’ll be interviewing for a coming Island of Trees column promotes tree-based agriculture and I was fascinated to learn from him how the fruit of trees is richer in nutrients than the fruit of herbacious plants, all because the tree’s roots go farther and bring more minerals to the fruit.

We tout trees a lot as a means for curbing climate change but there are so many other reasons to plant trees and to cultivate full-blown, complexe urban forests that would serve to feed, shelter and shade us and other animals.

I hope you’ll keep reading my column and I hope to see you on next year’s circuit of tree walks. If you do enjoy the Gazette column, write the newspaper, it might help me get more space. And remember, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.


November 19, 2009



  1. For Bronwyn Chester: I’m not sure how to use the blog, but I just want to say how much I enjoy the trees series in The Gazette.
    I was wondering if the bur oak in Cote-St. Luc has a plaque to indicate its age. It should be in tourist guides. Does it have some kind of protection? And to think the “owner” wanted to build a tree house in it.
    Allan Swift, St. Lambert

  2. I would like to organized a guided tree tour with Bronwyn. How can a get in touch with you?

    Dorval Garden Club

  3. Hi Bronwyn

    Your Gazette column is wonderful and a ‘must-read’ in the Sunday paper.

    Keep up the wonderful work. Never knew that there was such a diversity of trees in Montreal.

    I am sure that outside of Montreal (south and east in particular) there are still a lot of diversity as well.

    Kudos to the Gazette for having the foresight to allow us all to share your knowledge, observations and anecdotes about our wonderful part of the planet.


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