There could be truth to the theory that the physical appearance of a tree reflects its life experiences. On this basis, a gnarled and bent tree reveals harsh times while a smooth and erect tree manifests an easy existence. Every single tree will tell you its story if you look closely enough. To true gardeners, every story is worth exploring.
The peach blossom tree (Prunus persica) is the quintessential symbol of the Chinese new year, which usually takes place in January or February each year, according to the lunar calendar. As the festivities draw near, it is customary for families to visit the flower markets that open around this time of year to buy a peach blossom tree for display. If the peach blossom tree flowers with light pink blooms during the start of the new year, this is a very auspicious sign that the year will be a lucky one. Businesses also display peach blossom trees prominently.
Benefits of Neem
The neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is native to India where it is known as "the village pharmacy" for its multitude of medicinal benefits. Neem leaves, for instance, are general antidotes for poor circulation, digestion, liver function and diabetes, among other conditions. Neem products are also popular as treatments for the hair, scalp, skin and nails. The benefits of neem soap and shampoo even extend to pets to keep fleas and ticks at bay. As a non-toxic insecticide, neem remains effective because insects do not develop resistance to it. Neem oil acts as an insect repellent.
The golden egg tree (Solanum melongena) might be one of the best gifts for Easter. This fascinating plant grows both indoors in a pot, and outdoors in a pot or in the ground. It looks like a small tree, but it is actually an ornamental eggplant, and a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The "eggs" that appear are actually edible fruit in the shape of hen's eggs. As they ripen, they turn from white to golden yellow. The popularity of the golden egg tree around the world is clear from its different names, including guinea squash in England, aubergine in France and terong in Indonesia.
Viewing Cherry Blossoms
In Japan, it is a national tradition to view the annual flowering of the cherry blossom trees that grace the country. The Japan Weather Association releases special forecasts for the public with estimates of the best times to view the blossoms in the major cities of Japan. There are over 100 varieties of cherry blossom trees in Japan, the most popular being the Somei Yoshino and Yamazakura varieties.
The octopus tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is well named. Native to Australia, this small tree exhibits multiple trunks with crowns of leaves. Another common name is umbrella tree, for the umbrella-like rosettes of leaves. The tree flowers in a very dramatic fashion, with long stalks of deep red flowers emerging at the very top.