Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Madrone Seedlings!

--by Madronaman, posted Apr 16, 2017
I have a strong affinity for madrone trees. Though they grow along most of the west coast, their abundance at sea level and especially on islands in the Pacific Northwest is such that I feel they reflect the soul of this place. Their nonconforming and sensual nature has a way of attracting artists to their midst. In my immediate area, they grow in a few coastal places on the mainland and especially on the nearby islands.

My dream is to live among them, but the real estate prices on the mainland where they grow is astronomical and living on an island cuts you off from your family. So instead I have been studying their very specific growing conditions and learning how to propagate them myself to plant them where I live.

Last year I purchased 150 seedlings from a native plant sale at the community college in Bellingham. About 25 of these trees went to my property, and the rest went to my surrounding community in city parks, isolated beaches near my home, and to my very grateful neighbors! This act and my wanderings in search and study of native stands had made madrones into a catalyst in my life. I have met and continue to meet some very interesting people in the process!

This year things are different. The community college didn’t carry madrones, so I was "forced" to learn how to propagate them from seed. I tried to do this once before but failed completely, so this time I studied the process of preparing the seeds carefully. I wanted to have the problem of too many trees, so I laid up as many seeds as I could, using different techniques in case one failed.

I won't get another chance until next year so it had to work or no trees! I even built a greenhouse out of some lexan that I've had for about 10 years, added solar ventilation and air circulation, and basically anything else I could think of on a very limited budget. Three weeks ago I seeded the cell trays as soon as I got home from work, and prayed that this time I got it right.

About three days ago the first sprouts appeared! It worked!!! I'm back at work now but will continue seeding as many trees as I can, which on my current trajectory could number in the thousands. Some will be sold when appropriate, and many will again go into parks and neighbors yards! I am so thankful for this abundance!
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Readers Comments

lawrencena wrote: Nature is kind in many ways, thanks for your efforts with growing trees. I help people with nature therapy through forest trails. We do sow some seeds during our walks feels great to do our bit. L8ve light and lots of trees.
Joanellenhoo wrote: Nice job. A lovely gift to yourself as well as mother earth
Madronaman wrote: Thank you moderators for the feature! I am honored. I like your photos, too! For the record though, the common name for these trees vary by region. In california they are called madrones, in oregon and washington they are called madronas, and in british columbia they call them arbutus trees.
Subh wrote: Thank you , this is what all of us should do. Thank you for sharing and showing us how best to give back to nature
mindyjourney wrote: Oooh, talk about seeding Kindness! :))) How very interesting and such a labor of love! Truly trees have been calling to me lately as well. Thank you for following your heart and the tree's call :))))))) to make a difference!
Mish wrote: What a beauty-full "madrona mission"! I applaud your passion, hard work and sharing such beauty with so many. Blessed be.
janfour wrote: i will read about these trees. how lovely. you are like Miss Rumphius of trees. thank you
John74 wrote: Wonderful!! Thank you for your contribution to the world. :-)
John74 wrote: I just read about the trees. How marvelous a creation!!
Madronaman wrote: My neighbors have started calling me the Johnny Appleseed of Madronas! Most of us here probably share the attitude of leaving the world more beautiful than you found it. This one ranks right up there with raising my children in my opinion.

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