Trees of Character in the Glebe

A majestic Linden tree on Linden Terrace   Photos: Elizabeth Ballard

Tree owners Bill and Maxine Robertson love and appreciate their 100-year-old Linden tree.

A Linden on Linden Terrace

By Bill Robertson

How much pleasure can a tree provide to its owners and the community? In our case, a lot. Part of the attraction of the house we moved into in the Glebe in 1980 was the magnificent Linden tree in the front yard. We had lived in newer houses where we planted trees and finally someone had planted one for us. It was large then, and 40 years later, it is huge.

Apart from providing shade and cooling in the summer, it has become an object of awe and inspiration to visitors and passersby. Many stop and look upward into the natural cathedral of its branches and the thousands of minute blossoms that emit an enchanting scent each spring.

Strangers stop, take selfies and engage in playful acts of environmental joy.

We recently noticed a young girl who ran up and threw her arms around it. A tourist made several attempts to create a pose that would include himself and the tree in a photo. He needed someone to help take the picture as the scene was just too big. His comment was “you just made my day.” Several older women tried to hold hands around it, but to no avail – a few more women were needed to fully measure its girth.

Wildlife abounds in the towering branches. All manner of birds rest en route to the nearby feeder. Squirrels race around the trunk in frantic pursuit of each other. Crows have been known to raise a serious ruckus in the presence of a large horned owl.

It is the people who walk by and engage us in conversation who add the most interesting chapters to the story of the tree. Many ask what kind of tree it is. A Linden tree on Linden Terrace. Perhaps the biggest but not the only one, planted – we think – about 100 years ago when the house was built. It is only a guess, but likely correct.

Some have asked how tall it is. Our grandson, who is in Grade 12, solved the problem by using the angle app on his phone plus his knowledge of trigonometry. Who can argue with a 17-year-old? The height is 28 metres or 91 feet, depending on your age group.

Despite its beauty and the environmental contribution it makes to the neighbourhood, there are days when we love this tree a little less. Homeowners with large Lindens will know that the leafy giants lose their leaves each year, and they must be dealt with. There is a bract that falls in June soon after the blossoms appear, then a deluge of leaves which descend onto the lawns and driveways nearby in the autumn.

On one occasion when I was gathering up the leaves, a passerby felt compelled to tell me what an awful tree it was and asked why I would plant such a messy thing. I don’t know if she knew how old I was or the age of the tree, but you would think she would have seen it was improbable that I could have planted a tree a hundred years ago and still be around to rake up the leaves.

Nonetheless, we love the tree most of the time, and in October and November it provides me with all the exercise I need. Last year, it was 31 full bags. But who’s counting?

 Bill Robertson is a long-time Glebe resident and an enthusiastic tree lover.

We know that Bill Robertson is one of many who are keen on a tree. Do you have a special tree – either in your own yard or somewhere in the Glebe, Dow’s Lake or Glebe Annex – that you’d like to tell your neighbours about? If you do, please contact the Glebe Community Association’s Environment Committee, with the subject line Trees, environment@glebeca.ca. We’d love to hear from the tree lovers in our ‘hood.
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