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Observations from the garden

Tom Glass
Vail, CO, Colorado

Most of what makes for a successful garden or landscape is simply observation. The following are observations that I’ve had the opportunity to make. Some of them are about gardening.

The size of a tree is a function of time. The older a person is, the larger the tree they desire. The length of marketing time for real estate is inversely proportionate to the height of the trees surrounding the house. The level of noise rolling off an interstate is reduced by a row of trees opposite and equal to the density and height of the trees.

Consider the weight of a 14-foot spruce tree. The root-ball is the equivalent of a pickup truck load of dirt. Attached to that load of dirt is a tree equivalent to a pickup load of lumber covered in spruce needles.



Willingness to move that tree is a scarce commodity, almost as scarce as H2B seasonal worker visas, which number 66,000 per year nationwide. When you find people willing to do such a thing as move a large tree up or down a mountain, they tend to be a real pleasure to work around. As a corollary, the depth and breadth of one’s vocabularies does not lighten the weight of the load, but it does have the nice effect of shortening the distance one travels before the other declares, definitively, the spot at which a tree should be planted.

We invest far too much water in our landscapes. This valley will rise only to the level water allows. The value of the Eagle River is determined by the Colorado River. And the Colorado is in short supply. We’ll be aware of the exact level of water use that limits full enjoyment of living in this valley long before we tap into ourselves and make meaningful changes in our consumption.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



I imagine the weight of all the pine beetles and their larvae in this valley is quite staggering. Pine beetles will eat themselves out of house and home before they die off. It would be nice if a pine beetle could think beyond right now, but they can’t, so I guess they will just kill all these trees.

The laws of nature are immutable.

Tom Glass writes a weekly garden column for the Vail Daily. E-mail comments or questions about this column to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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