Bee-friendly plants series: Linden

Basswood (linden or lime in England) is a deciduous tree with heart-shaped leaves. It is usually grown as an ornamental or a row tree in our part of the world. It can grow very tall (20-40 m.) and can live for centuries. It is very popular for urban plantings because it is hardy and pollution resistant. The bonus is that it is an excellent bee tree and if there are enough trees (as there often are in cities) a honey crop can be made. It blooms in mid to late July and its fragrance is wonderful … we can step outside on a cool July night into a wonderful perfume. Fifteen years ago I had a planting spree: oaks, ash and basswood. Deer eat the big oak buds and make the trees crooked, the ash died, but the basswoods grew and the deer didn’t touch them (too busy eating oaks?). I’d recommend basswood as a deer proof, pollinator friendly planting …you just have to chase them for a few years with pruners …they sucker a lot and think they want to be a bush and you have to teach them to be a tree. The wood is soft and stable and prized by carvers; the blossoms can be collected for a tea; the honey is flavourful. All is good! Problem: it is hard to grow basswood from seed …most of my plantings came from an ancient tree dude who let me dig volunteers on his property …thank-you George Labelle. I think the MacPhail Woods in PEI sells basswood. The spring frosts seem to have done in our basswood blossoms this year. The pictures in this post come from some beautiful basswood in front of the DeCoste Centre in Pictou. Fashion factoid: the Ainu people of Japan wove clothing from fibres extracted from the inner bark of basswood.

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and natureImage may contain: tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature

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