They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
-Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi
We don't charge people to see the trees at Reeves-Reed Arboretum (although a dollar and a half seems pretty cheap). We really are a tree museum, though. I mention that for two reasons – first of all, we have some really cool trees and plants here, and we're adding to the collection every year. We've begun to specialize in a truly exciting area of horticulture: native plants with something extra. We have some wonderful American natives that exhibit useful or ornamental characteristics: trees that grow so slowly that they'll never fall prey to hurricanes or snowstorms; trees with foliage so colorful that they seem to be in flower all season long; skinny trees, weeping trees, trees with beautiful bark – the list goes on, and they're all here for you to enjoy. Perhaps our grounds will inspire you to experiment in your own gardens and landscapes – we can only hope.
The second reason I draw attention to our tree museum is to help you and your family to enjoy it more. We have a list of things that you can and can't do, and most of them make sense to the casual visitor. But there's an easier way to figure out how to behave at Reeves-Reed – just treat the grounds and gardens the way you would treat any museum. That means appreciating things without touching them (you'd never touch the paintings at the Met, right?) It means leaving the pets at home (when's the last time you took your dog to MOMA?) It means being considerate of your fellow visitors (I mean, who shouts at The Cloisters?) You get the idea.
Why is this important? Because Reeves-Reed belongs to all of us, and all of us need to take care it. And because (quoting Joni Mitchell again*):
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
*Pro tip: it is impossible to quote Joni Mitchell too often.
Photo: Silphium perfoliatum (big yellow taxon)