Building a mini arboretum at Monarch Park

LIke the big bad wolf, the wind huffed and puffed and blew the trees down. Big ones. Can you count the rings?

Back in Fall 2012, a windstorm took down a swath of mature trees – about 14, if memory serves – in Monarch Park in our east-end neighbourhood. It was a surprise to see these giants completely uprooted and toppled. There are already quite a few trees in this park. However, having these trees fall is a reminder that city trees, even in a park setting, have a shorter shelf-life than trees in the wild.

It’s great to report that baby trees moved into the neighbourhood in October; 62 of them. Back in April, the seeds for a Friends of Monarch Park group were planted. The group worked with the City’s Parks department and L.E.A.F. to develop a planting plan, and initiated an Adopt-A-Tree program to ensure that the babies would have folks to look after them till they settled in.

From the City’s planting plan, it looks like as many as 30 tree species have been added, mostly natives, including flowering trees like yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea). That’s diversifying our urban forest for you! Although the trees are leafless, I had fun roaming around our local “arboretum” reading all the tags. For a tree geek, that’s like watching a movie trailer. Can’t wait for the show.

Monarch Park is a tree place. Love this grove of sugar maples (Acer saccharum). See how their upward-reaching branches make arches like the roof of a cathedral?
One of the newer trees is this Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii), the species we profiled here.
Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a North American native said to have strong, red fall colour. I hope this baby does.
Look closely, and you might just make out the signs of new planting along that far ridge. Renewing our urban forest now is how we ensure we have trees today and trees tomorrow. That’s a good plan, don’t you think?


  1. Nyssa sylvatica is a wonderful tree1 I planted several about 10 years ago even though they weren't meant to be hardy in my zone. Two survived and provide amazingly bright red colouring in the fall. They are still small and growing slowly, but worth the wait.

    1. Pat, I've only seen Nyssa sylvatica "in the green" — they have a specimen at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. Such fun having one to study so close to home.

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