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A few Trees from France:
It is ten years ago that I began what we can call my " crusade of the trees ". I wanted to penetrate their secrets, to make known them, help to preserve them. In a number of our communes, indeed, the trees, even venerable are often, for little that some of their branches are sick, are regarded as " dangerous " and in the name of " public safety " too often cut down. It is so much easier than to maintain them! It should be known that an old tree goes well better if it is almost not pruned.
The Elm tree of Salignac:
Baptized " Messidor " by the association Mathusalem Dordogne, the Elm of Salignac (Ulmus campestris) is immemorial; the children of the village, their parents, their grandparents, their ancestors always knew it. Old of more than three hundred years, this tree, single in its kind, is among the last elms of France. If it appears at first sight always so large, therefore beautiful, therefore venerable, it is not less vulnerable in spite of the power of its roots which extend extremely far.
In March 1995, the team of "L'Atelier de l'Arbre"'(the Workshop of the Tree) whose William Moore, Guillaume, Peter and Manon had completed an excellent work of reasoned pruning. A staying had been set up to support the largest branches. I was present to supervise the respect for the Elm of Salignac.
But in 1999, it was not the same. That day, whereas I was in Australia, a storm crushed on the ground one of the large branches. Then for " the safety of the public " (as usual the human ones pass before Nature), the branches of this poor tercentenary Elm were cut to the 3/4! That is to say that the hollow trunk could not have held longer... Why not have put stays or poles to retain the branches, as can do it very well the Japanese and the Chinese and the Koreans? Now see what the Elm of Salignac became!! It will undoubtedly live still of beautiful days and years. Here (on the left)en the current state... We can complain about American but their guards of the trees are much stronger than us. They use the large means like also to clone the old trees to save the species. Young trees grow from the old ones. It is necessary absolutely that the municipality of Salignac and its schools take cuttings of the sacred Elm tree of Salignac (see "Plant Trees Together" page).
During a little detour, in February 2004, with my friend Cedric Pollet, we went to Salignac, and Cedric took this photograph.
You can see how healthy his the tree....thank you Monsieur le Maire!!!
You cann see how it had been pruned in 1999, for the safety of the public and not at all for the health of this elm, rare jewel of our countrysides.
This famous elm tree is dead...His trunk had only 5 cm of alived wood (bark,cambium, liber).
It had been logged by the city, the 14th December 2004!
Now on the Elm's place, had been planted a Virginian Tulip tree. So long live to this young tree. That the citizen of Salignac Eyvigues bring him love and water during all his life and during the dryness season.
Not far between Salignac and Lacassagne, lives a superb oak tree at the corner of two roads. He is a great repear with hope than the owners take care of him. He was lucky because the chestnut forest had been cut behind him few years ago.
. With your sustained help, other trees will appear here.
Oak tree of Coulounieix Chamiers, near Périgueux, Dordogne
Oak tree of Coulounieix Chamiers, near Périgueux, Dordogne
Oak tree of Saint Front d'Alemps, Dordogne, France
Some of these oaks fell during the hurricane 1999.
Wild Pear tree of Saint Geniès, Dordogne. He fell in 1996 but a branch growing on the stump continue to grow. So this Pear tree is not dead!! Long live to the Pear tree of St Geniès.
Chestnut tree of Saint Cernin de l'Herm, in Dordogne. It had survived to the 1999' hurricane.
Another superb Oak tree in Dordogne, near Perigueux..
Juniper trees of Chavagnac - Dordogne (08th August 2005)
Between Terrasson-la-Villedieu and Chavagnac, in dry land, you can admire (with respect of the place) some splendid Juniper trees, that botanists will not hesitate to mention me their latin name...This place is exceptional and a better protection will be good as "Espace Boisé Classé" (Classified wooden space). I will ask these days to the mairie and to the prefecture to protect them.
Some will have more than 200 years old, their growing is slow. Other plants grow there and many insects can find shelds too.
If Botanists, dendrochronologists and enthomologists would like to see them, I will be available. There are also Coly, Lacassagne, between Salignac Eyvigues (24) and Souillac (46).
Here are some photos:
Biscarosse, the Elm which remembers (Ulmus campestris):)
The symbol of the town of Biscarosse, in the Landes department, is an old Elm of Justice (Ulmus campestris), of eight meters fifty of turn, and which would have more than six hundred years. It also has his own characteristic : each year, whereas the new foliage deploys a bright green, a crown of white leaves appears: " the Elm remembers ". It is told, indeed, that at the end of the One hundred Year old war, a girl was marked wrongly to have sin and have had to undergo the punishment then in progress: to be exposed naked at the foot of the Tree of Justice. She was chain to the nail of the old elm. Despaired, in tears, she pressed her head on the rough face of the trunk of the outcast and her pain was so large that she died. Since, where the girl had posed her head, the tree makes a bloom of a crown of white, white leaves like the purity of this innocent young person. Of course, this phenomenon can be the fact of a bad supply in sap or chlorophyl, but this vegetal exception is always repeated regularly and at the same time.
Then! Let us wish to the Elm of Biscarosse that its legend still lend life a long time to him!
The Yews (Taxus baccata) of la Haye-de-Routot (Eure)
These yews (Taxus baccata), like much of others in Normandy, are in the cemetery of the village. They are Celtic trees. We indeed said that this species was endowed of immortality and one frequently planted it to commemorate deaths. These would have more than 1400 years!
The Olive tree of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (Olea oleaster) (Alpes-Maritimes.)
Extremely resistant, setting out again by rejections, the olive-tree exceeds in longevity the oak, even the yew. Since the oldest times, it is symbol of peace, in particular in the Jewish and Christian traditions, of fruitfulness, victory for the Japanese. As for Islam, it regards it as " Axus Mundi " and it is its oil which supplies the lamps of the mosques. From a medicinal point of view, its leaves, depuratives and astringent, would dilate the arteries and would decrease the blood urea rates.
Bimillenary, twenty meters of circumference, the olive-tree of Roquebrune was in XIXe century the property of the Vial brothers, called the dragons, the loggers, bonesetter and poachers. Determined to cut down it, they started by settling under its foliage to offer a good big meal. At this point in time intervened Gabriel Hanotaux, (1853-1944), politician and historian. At passage by chance, he was filled with wonder by this old tree; therefore when he learned its judgment and its nearest execution, he decided to repurchase it to the Vial
At which price, no one does not know it. Always it is that it still belongs to its descendants but it is today the municipality which takes care of it and more particularly the former assistant of the mayor, the sculptor of the village, Mr. Mehmed who seems to be veru fond of it.
The Olive tree of Beausoleil (Olea oleaster)
As old undoubtedly as that of Roquebrune, the Olive tree of Beausoleil (Olea oleaster), certainly thousand-year-old measures eleven meters of turn. It has only one trunk and was undoubtedly never cut, but it always produces good olives.
The green Oak of Baou de la Gaude (Quercus ilex), at Saint-Jeannet (Alpes Maritimes)
It is one of most beautiful of this species than we meet in the area. I discovered this tree for the first time with Victor Clapier, one of my friends. Already at this time this Oak deployed a splendid aura.
After many trekkings around the world, I returned to see it in company of friends from Nice, Eric and Tina of Arobas Café. They were delighted by this Oak, but which would not be it? If its foot is well attached on the Baou (promontory), its summit dominates the landscape of the Antibes Cap and of the plain of the Var. The INRA (National Institute of Agronomical Research) and various botanists allot four hundred years of age to him; but it is probable that it has much more; its trunk is shirking a long time with the sight; however, it does not measure less than eight meters of circumference.
The tree grows in what would have been a sheep-barn, which explains why it is surrounded by four walls. In the east a small polished stone was deposited there: Salt's stone , sacred's stone, or sacrifice's stone? In the west, on the other hand, a large open area surrounded by walls is used as place of gathering. Being given its geographical and geobiologic establishment, it is probable that this oak was a sacred tree. As for the Celtic temples, the cathedrals and the churches, it is directed East-West (between the Life and Death). It is besides a meeting point and, in particular during the night of stars, the initiates come there.
Below the valley of Conségudes, the Oak of Pascaline (Quercus alba)
It has extended its branches for perhaps four hundred years. We can wonder why this tree was preserved, whereas this place was exploited a few years ago for the firewood and coal and was also used as grazing ground for the sheep. Probably the shade which it offered to the villagers avoided him a clearcut! It is my friend Stéphane Esclamenti who shown me this tree.
The Plane tree of Lamanon (Platanus orientalis) (Bouches-du-Rhône)
Always in South-east, but in the Rhone delta this time, I photographed a gigantic plane tree whose branches were spread out on the ground. Some measured nearly two meters in diameter whereas the trunk measures eight meters of turn for a length of foliage of fifty three meters. Undoubtedly, one of the longest of France. To the beginning of XXe century, this plane tree belonged to the mayor of the village which organized under the shade of its foliage festivals and balls.
Is this for that, that I wanted to gather under its shade the inhabitants of this small village? Five hundred people were present, children, teenagers, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents; it was one very merry moment for which I thank the mayor, Mr. Darrouzès who helped me to bring together his flocks. This tree is in a private property and, it is forbidden to penetrate there without authorization. Thank you also to the owners of the tree who were very hospitable.
The Linden tree of Féternes (Haute Savoie)
It is on the place of the Chapelle of Châteauvieux, in Féternes that towers up an old linden tree of more than four hundred years. This tree, dedicated to deaths, had undoubtedly been planted in the old cemetery which was next to a Chapelle of XIIe century. The presence of a black Virgin, sculpted with ancient wood , still develops the place.
The Beeches tree "Faux" of Verzy (Fagus sylvatica tortuosa) (Marne)
The current Beeches (Fagus) come from one very, very old family of trees which spread a little everywhere on the Earth. In France, it is in the Mountain of Rheims that we find thousand-year-old's beeches: The Faux of Verzy, already mentioned in the cartulaire of the abbey of Saint-Basle. The Branches grow at ground level and the tree himself hardly exceed one or two meters in height, no one not knowing why. We evoke the passage of a radioactive comet, the nature of the ground, a genetic change... At all events, these arborescent anomalies are of an attractive beauty, fascinating extraordinary forms, sometimes fantastic. The autumn with its yellow, orange tonalities, brown, golds or reds make them more phantasmagoric and if there is the chance to see them under the snow, the spectacle is only more marvellous.
Several of them are thousand-year-old and certain are personified: the Faux with the ox head, the Lady, the Lyre, etc. The National Office of the Forests takes great care of it, barriers of protection were installed and their seeds are recovered with a special net to try to grow new local and tortured beeches.
The Chestnut tree (Castanea sativa)
The Chestnut was respected from immemorial time for its great utility: its flowers, of a delicate odor, give an excellent honey, its wood transformed into coal; finally, output in boards, we covered the roofs with them as could do it the "feuillardiers" of the Limousin. But they are especially its fruits, the sweet chestnuts, which were a long time the base of the food of the farmers.
The Most famous of France are the chestnuts of Neuvecelle and Lugrin, close to Evian, that of Nonneries in Abbaretz or that of Kerse'och.
In the Dordogne and in spite of the maltreatment of the storm of 1999, the chestnut of St Cernin de L'Herm with stay alive. I had gone there with one of my American friends Illan Shamir, the " Treeman " and poet of Colorado. He also plays of the tam-tam and it was an enchantment to hear him.
Not far beyond the Evergreen oak ( Quercus ilex) of the Castle of Besse lives. Himself on the other hand had lost a very large branch.
The Chestnut of Neuillé would be thousand-year-old. It measures twelve meters thirty of turn to height of the size. At the time of the Second World war, a violent storm struck down it, exploding his two principal branches, splitting the trunk into two to the heart and causing a local fire. Despite everything the deadwood collected then, the tree was still of such a size that it seemed always the same one. Nowadays, in spite of some died branches, it kept its beautiful look: buttresses grow on the wounds and the cracks by taking all kinds of forms.
More imposing still the Chestnut of Mouliherne (Castanea sativa) (Maine & Loire) measurement more than fourteen meters of turn. It is in the middle of brambles which made from there the access difficult that its owner had the surprise to discover this giant, undoubtedly the largest chestnut of our French areas. Now Mr Michaud opened a lodging ("gîtes")of France, and I trust him to make appreciate with these friends and customers the botanical and historical value of his chestnut.
Elm of BettaThenge - Moselle:
When I went to my conference in Woippy, near Metz, Jacques Lagabrielle, an other treelover, invited me at his home. With his familly we went to see and admire the venerable Elm of Bettange (Ulmus campestris), which was planted in 1593. The mayor take really care of him and nobody is able to climb or destroy the tree. His trunk and branches are twisted and show some figures. What is his history? How big it was before? I will ask to the townhall. Thanks also to Monsieur Euzenat from Metz, who talked aboutt his tree.
If you wish it, I can organize for you a travel to discovered the ancient trees. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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