Friday, August 10, 2012


If you gave me my dream garden, it would include lots of land and one giant live oak.

We've taken vacations just to see places in the Old South with massive live oaks.
These are in a plantation along the Mississippi River.

The draped Spanish moss on the spreading arms of these forest giants are the quintessential symbol of the southern states.

Here in Houston we love our live oaks. We stand around them, rest under them and hang around in their branches. This one is near downtown.

A hundred years ago, Houstonians planted many of these giants along city streets so that they would provide shady avenues in the future.

One summer I volunteered with the Texas Forest Service to find the largest ones to make certain they were still alive and healthy. It was a treasure hunt that I thoroughly enjoyed.

This was one of the largest with a canopy span of over 115 feet! (over 35 meters!)

Another favorite was this one in River Oaks.

It had its own ecosystem.

 Texas is a big place, but live oaks grow over most of our area. Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels, Corpus Christi and The Texas Hill Country all have splendid examples of the Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) and its close cousin the Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis). Here's my wife under a mott of live oaks in Brenham, Texas.

And so my neighbor has looked to the future and planted a live oak across the street.
Perhaps if I live long enough it will look like this one.

But for now it looks like this.

But I have a front row seat to watch it grow from here in my garden.
Thank you, neighbor!

I'll take a photo each summer so we can both watch it grow.

That's it for today.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.


  1. To plant a baby Oak is to believe in the future.

  2. I love oaks. I love the giant spread of an oak forest understory. California was and still should be oak heaven, but development of land viewed as more productive for housing tracts has been the rule for decades. Hopefully more and more folks catch on and plant the natives in their yards.

    I'd get your neighbour to create a large circle of bark mulch around the tree and remove that grass. The oak should establish quicker and growth not so stifled by the allelopathic properties grasses create.

    Thanks for the story - Kevin


  3. How thoughtful of your neighbor to plant a Live Oak in your line of sight! Young trees here grow quickly, slowing as they age for a 'hundred years growing, a hundred years living and a hundred years dying.'

  4. They are beautiful, aren't they? Live oaks are my favorite trees too. My dream property would have a road lined with them.
    We lived in Gainesville, Florida for a while and those trees are a common sight. I love when the sun shines through them, it is magical.
    Once in a while we take a trip to Austin and then I go to the capital, just to enjoy sitting under a live oak watching the squirrels ...

  5. Luckily, we're surrounded by big, old Texas Live Oaks. They are truly majestic trees.
    Those are great photos.

  6. Oh, how wonderful! I love these trees, but have never thought of planting one. I will be interested in seeing how fast this one grows year by year.

  7. Thanks so much for this post. I come from the Mississippi gulf coast where these beauties grow all over the place, dripping with moss. Remends me so much of home! Carol

  8. David, what an interesting post! I love these enchanted trees. Here, there were lots of them when I was younger but today eucalyptus are everywhere and the landscape changed a lot. It is a pity.
    Best regards and happy Sunday!

  9. Planting a baby oak is having faith in the future generation :) I understand why you are smitten with this tree, so stately and majestic!

  10. How kind of your neighbour to plant your favourite tree where you can admire it and watch it grow.

  11. Love those live oak trees. I remember when my dad planted one in front of our house in west Houston when I was very little. Won't say how many years, but it is quite large now and I still enjoy driving by the house to see it.

  12. I never seen huge trees as such as these.
    My favourite is the one which you mentioned with its own ecosystem.
    Its truly look so tropical.

  13. I love your blog and it inspired me to start my own. I garden in the Lake Houston part of town.

  14. That tree in River Oaks is gorgeous! I hope your neighbor's will be just as lovely one day!

  15. I always have trouble with the name-does live refer it to being evergreen?
    I am a great believer in planting for future generations. I'm thinking maybe black walnut for my new garden.

  16. What a thoughtful neighbor! Do the branches ever break off in storms? I have a print of a painting of live oaks that I love. Such incredible trees. They're all over California (where I'm from), too.

  17. Hi, David,
    What a cute baby tree your neighbor plants! Oak tree is not common on the residential streets in Japan. So, I was very impressed to see that!! Compared to the residence behind the oak tree, it's overwhelming!!!! It looks cool under the branches. And your post always makes me laugh:-)

  18. Awesome oak trees, David, especially the one in River Oaks. I enjoyed the post and the pictures and can see why you are taken with the tree.
    Good luck to your neighbor. I look forward to the annual baby oak updates.


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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