By Cindy Olsen
When we decided to begin publishing a blog, it was because we wanted to share our knowledge and love of nature with our community. The hope is that we begin to look at nature as something that we are a part of rather than something we are separate from. There are incredible stories of nature taking place from sidewalk cracks to the forest conservancies like Sheldrake. What better way to introduce this blog than to take a closer look at the very tree that Larchmont is named after?
When Peter Munro was building the original Manor house in 1797, it faced Boston Post Road, which was already a busy street.
Munro needed something to block out the noise and dust from the road. His Scottish gardener brought in some Larch seeds from Scotland because the trees grow quickly and are very hardy. As a matter of fact, it is so hardy that the city of Venice, Italy is built almost exclusively of Larch wood.
The original Larch trees, that Munro planted, grew magnificently and towered 50-80 feet. When Edward Knight Collins purchased the land from the Munro’s, 50 years later, he named the parcel Larchmont, after the hilltop that was the site of the house, and the magnificent Larch trees. There are still 2 Larch trees on the original Manor House property. There were many more, but years ago they succumbed to a disease.
Unlike other evergreens, which keep their needles year round, the Larch is a deciduous conifer. It actually sheds its needles each fall. In the fall, their needles turn a distinctive golden yellow.
When the needles fall, the small oval cones stay on the tree. In the Spring, pinkish female flowers, known as “larch roses”, will appear and transform into cones when pollinated.
One interesting fact about Larches is that they seem to be very efficient processors of Carbon Dioxide and can aid in countering the Greenhouse effect.
The Larch tree also has medicinal qualities that have been used for centuries in Asia to help women struggling with fertility issues. It is believed that spending the night under a Larch tree will help a woman conceive a baby. In European folklore, the larch was said to protect against enchantment. The wearing and burning of larch was thought to protect against evil spirits.
Maybe the magic is working, considering what a wonderful town Larchmont is and how many thriving children live here!
Can you find a Larch tree? See if you can find one and send us your photo!