For 65 years - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
The American Elm, also known as the White Elm still survives in much-reduced numbers following the devastation of Dutch Elm Disease which reached Minnesota in the early 1960s, causing the loss of the vast majority of Elms used as boulevard trees in many cities. The tree was so stately in shape that it was the perfect tree for shade protection of streets and yards. Some cultivars are now being bred with resistance to the disease. The wood, while not brittle, tends to warp and split so it is not used for large work and was never used in house construction in the United States. Unlike a number of trees, the elms have perfect flowers, appearing before the leaves and forming seed immediately, such that Thoreau wrote: “Before the 10th of May, the winged seeds or samarae of the elms give them a leafy appearance, or as if covered with little hops, before the leaf buds are opened. This must be the earliest of our trees and shrubs to go to seed. It is so early that most mistake the fruit before it falls for leaves, and we owe to it the first deepening of the shadows in our streets.”
"Now as to the business of food: As these animals are actuated by instinct to hunt for necessary food, they should not, one would suppose, crowd together in pursuit of sustenance at a time when it is most likely to fail; yet such associations do take place in hard weather chiefly, and thicken as the severity increases. As some kind of self-interest and self-defence is no doubt the motive for the proceeding, may it not arise from the helplessness of their state in such rigorous seasons; as men crowd together, when under great calamities, through they know not why? Perhaps approximation may dispel some degree of cold; and a crowd may make the individual appear safer from the ravages of birds of prey and other dangers." Gilbert White from A Natural History of Selborne, Feb. 8, 1772
Old elm that murmured in our chimney top
The sweetest anthem autumn ever made
And into mellow whispering calms would drop
When showers fell on thy many coloured shade
And when dark tempests mimic thunder made -
While darkness came as it would strangle light
With the black tempest of a winter night
That rocked thee like a cradle in thy root -
How did I love to hear the winds upbraid
Thy strength without - while all within was mute.
It seasoned comfort to our hearts' desire,
We felt that kind protection like a friend
And edged our chairs up closer to the fire,
Enjoying comfort that was never penned.
Old favourite tree, thou'st seen time's changes lower,
Though change till now did never injure thee;
For time beheld thee as her sacred dower
And nature claimed thee her domestic tree.