Last weekend we attended a celebration for our friends’ son who has just graduated from high school.  As his sister before him, he’ll be leaving to attend university out of state, marking the new stage in life for his parents as empty-nesters.

Lucien and I commemorated the event of Henry’s birth 18 years ago by planting a street tree in front of our friends’ home.  I remember the details of filling out permits and ordering the tree, a thundercloud plum, Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud,  from Friends of Trees.  Planting day is especially vivid in my mind.  Even now I remember how clever Jimmy was to lay out a tarp on which to put backfill soil, thinking of the many times before and since when I’ve made a muddy mess, neglecting to follow his example.

At the time, this plum tree made a pair with an older one of the same kind.  The original one is now gone after reaching the end of its life, and a young serviceberry has taken its place.


I spent a little time just marveling at how this tree has grown along with the boy for whom it was planted.


IMG_4623sm     IMG_4628sm

It’s at least 25 feet tall, with a healthy, spreading form.


One limb over the sidewalk reaches down to touch the lawn in the front yard.  My hope is that as Henry embarks on his new journey that he will also reach back periodically toward his family and the home where I witnessed his birth all those years ago.

This entry was posted in Street trees and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Congratulations

  1. Heather says:

    The trunk is gorgeous! What a sweet gift.

  2. norie says:

    Beautiful tree! Congratulations, Henry!
    That’s one thing that amazes me about Portland – trees are allowed to grow freely – extending over pedestrian passages. In Tokyo, home owners are expected to trim everything back to the edges of public domain. (People worry about caterpillars falling down their backs! :P) But then again, sidewalk/street edge trees (what is the name for this zone?) are primarily maintained by the city, which sets the standard.

    • Norie, the populace here is not as conforming to municipal expectations as in Japan. And there isn’t any enforcement unless your next door neighbor decides to complain about your landscaping. Caterpillars? Hmm — most of us are driving around in our cars — it’s the trees (actually aphids) that leave little drips on people’s cars here that are a nuisance.

  3. Merri Baehr Whipps says:

    Thank you, Julie, for gifting us with this tree, and with this written memory of its significance. Good memories! I wonder what this tree will look like when Henry is 36, and 72?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s