A Garden in the Forest

 

The birches on planting day – 50 years ago

Fifty years ago, on the centenary of the formal establishment of Canada, a collection of birch trees sourced from all the Canadian provinces was planted at the Morgan Arboretum in the field below Chalet Pruche. Speeches were made by important chaps in suits and then the trees were left to get on with it by themselves and their raison d’être was largely forgotten. Some of the trees thrived, some struggled, a couple succumbed to overcrowding, old age and the Montreal climate … but most are still with us (albeit some, only just). Almost everyone forgot what the trees were there for.

Now we are in the year 2017 and the Friends of the Morgan Arboretum, a volunteer organisation, is spending the spring and summer in renovating the birch collection and creating a new walking trail amongst them – the Canada 150 Trail.

The trail will meander along the birch rows and make its way northwards to the (mis-named) Bobolink Field before returning by a parallel forest ride a bit to the west. As well as providing a pleasant stroll for visitors that takes them through some interestingly varied habitat the trail will also provide opportunities for educational projects and as an introduction to the varied offerings of the arboretum.

Alongside the trail and near the sugar shack, the Friends are planting a Garden in the Forest comprising a collection of native, berry-bearing shrubs and trees which, as they mature in the years to come, will provide a needed resource of nourishment for the forest birds … especially as some of the species chosen will bear their fruits into the winter months.

And all the branches and tree trimmings resulting form this renovation – what happens to them? They are being transported to the Bobolink Field where they will be piled into a “branchery” to provide shelter for small animals and singing posts for birds.

 

 

A Gallery of Progress … to be added to as the project evolves

Click any thumbnail to open the pictures at full size

 

The start of the Canada 150 Birch Trail