About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Italian Cypress Tree

To learn more about Saturday Photo Hunts, click here.

THEME: Narrow

The following was taken from here.

Latin Name: Cupressus sempervirens
Country of Origin: Persia/Syria
Height: 20 to 25m
Uses: Windbreak, furniture/coffin making, essential oil production and decorative use.

One cannot think of Tuscany without thinking of the magnificent cypress tree, so quintessential and symbolic of the Tuscan landscape that it has adopted the name of "The Tuscan Cypress tree." Although this is a somewhat fitting name, it is however grossly incorrect as its real place of origin was almost certainly Persia or Syria and was brought to the Tuscan area by the mysterious Etruscan tribes-people many thousands of years ago who considered the plant to have mystical/supernatural connections. It is a tree that can survive for up to 2,000 years or more, and while the other deciduous trees would lose their leaves in the winter, the cypress trees retained theirs- rendering it supernatural in the eyes of the early tribes-people.

To such an extent was this supernatural connotation that the Etruscans chose to plant the tree around their sacred Necropolis (burial grounds). They believed that the supernatural powers and strong, fragrant essential oils could ward off demons and even the smell of death itself, thus ensuring a safe passage into the afterlife. The fragrant wood of the cypress tree, being rich in resinous essential oils takes many years to decompose, rendering it ideal for coffins and sarcophagi. In fact, the wood is so strongly scented that the tree was planted around the houses, churches and cemeteries in Tuscany as people believed that the air was "freshened" by the tree, giving rise to the quintessential "Tuscan landscape" that we hold as being typical of the area.

This wonderful mysterious tree has unfortunately been suffering from a terrible and fatal canker that has put it under threat of extinction in recent years. However, for once genetic engineering has been useful in saving the species from extinction by having provided a new variety named 'Bolgheri' that is resistant to the disease and offers some hope for one of the most treasured of all of Europe's trees.

CYPRESS CULTIVATION: Prefers a sunny position with free-draining soil but will tolerate shade and even the thick, heavy Tuscan clay. They prefer a trim in the early spring to maintain their shape and prevent the branches from being opened up and split by the heavy winter snowfalls. A good organic mulch such as animal manure or hay laid around the base of the plant at planting will ensure that the plant gets a healthy start. Regular feeding will ensure rapid growth.

CYPRESS USES IN THE GARDEN: The cypress tree offers the gardener an incredible vertical, visual statement, unrivalled by any other that will invite the human eye to change direction, creating interest and, not to mention, a Mediterranean feel wherever it is planted.
It provides an ideal visual block to hide unsightly objects/views and provides a useful windbreak on exposed sites and can even be used to frame interesting views, giving added importance to a view across a valley etc. All in all- an excellent tree for any garden, or for any street.

This is a photo I took in Tuscany in October 2006. I was intrigued
by these trees as everywhere I looked I could see them in the
landscape or on the horizon.


Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Perfect for the narrow theme. I see them a lot especially on the farms around here... they are magnificent trees... I'm always in awe of them when I stand next to them! Great post.
Rocky Mountain Retreat

Sharon said...

Such an interesting picture for narrow! a narrow road running by a narrow tree in a narrow picture!

I loved seeing the scenery in Italy and reading the info you provided! Thanks.

Sarge Charlie said...

The Tuscany area is beautiful I did sever post about Carrara marble.

Natalie said...

Those are lovely trees!

Mine is up here.

Heather said...

So beautiful!

pat said...

Oh the beauty of Tuscany - love it!!

Happy Weekend.

Carver said...

Great post and photographs for the narrow theme. Very informative.

jmb said...

They are narrow trees and they remind me especially of Bologna because we have visited friends there over the years and you can see them everywhere from their house.
I don't find them a particularly attractive tree individually but scattered around they are special and that photo of the landscape is wonderful Leslie.

JC said...

Beautiful shots and a very interesting post. We don't think, too often, about the extinction of trees... we should.

Julie said...

very nice post and picture for this week. THanks for stopping by.

Pamela said...

Hi Leslie- those are gorgeous, and I especially love that second shot. Would love to see that myself one day. Have a great weekend!

Utah Mommy said...

Beautiful photographs you have here! Happy hunting!

Siani said...

Beautiful pics for this week's theme. Have a lovely weekend!

jams o donnell said...

Great take on this week's theme. THe cypress is such a beautiful tree

BlurMommy said...

Those are very interesting trees. Very narrow indeed!

""rare jonRez"" said...

wow!!!! as in... WOW!!! u'v got great shots on the theme.. very wonderful photos in a beautiful place.. thanks for sharing them!

and thanks for dropping by! :)

PastorMac's Ann said...

Oooo, love that first photo for our narrow theme!

Thanks for stopping by.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Nothing like Tuscan cypresses.

Tokenhippygirl said...

Really beautiful trees and a lovely shot.

Pato & Pearl said...

Hey, this is cool and great infor too. thanks for droppin by my Spain.


denz said...

wow! you have a very nice picture and I love the way you put consistency of the picture, indeed you have a great post! keep it up!!!

here's mine:
Happy Weekend Everyone!!!

rajson said...

thank´s for the interesting lesson about cypress.
Great choice!
Thank´s for visiting my blogg!

Katney said...

I don't remember cypress trees in Tuscany, but then again, it has been over 40 years since I was there. These trees are certainly narrow.

JesieBlogJourney said...

Beautiful narrow trees thast provide alot of oxygen. I love them.

Thanks for visiting mine.

Liz said...

The first photo is especially lovely. It's interesting how little things, treese, sounds, smells, can make one think of a place.

Anonymous said...

Did you crib this post from this web site? Or vicy versy?