‘Trees are my thing’: gardeners gave a name to Marion’s street trees

Nov 27, 2022

MARION — Equipped with hammers, nails, springs and metal plaques, members of the Marion Garden Group and Tree Committee went on a mission.

They took to the streets of Marion Village on Saturday, Nov. 26 with the task of labeling the town’s “street trees,” many of which were planted by the Garden Group and Tree Committee in the past 25 years.

Margie Baldwin, the chair of the Tree Committee, said that over the past quarter-century, the Tree Committee has planted “hundreds and hundreds” of trees along the streets of Marion.

Suzy Taylor, President of the Marion Garden Group, said that labeling the town’s trees with their common and Latin names present an educational opportunity for Marion residents.

“There’s a bunch of the trees in front of Sippican school so the kids will start to learn the names of trees,” she said. “I’m hoping the Marion Garden Group continues to do this and we get as many trees tagged as we can.”

About 30 trees — Princeton Elm, Silver Maple, Linden and more were labeled with around $1,200 worth of plaques on Saturday, said Taylor.

The group used aluminum nails to prevent rust and left a few inches of space between the tree and the label so that the trees can continue to grow for another 25 years.

According to Baldwin, a lot of thought goes into choosing “street trees.”

“Not every tree is suited to be a street tree,” said Baldwin. “We don’t plant Evergreens particularly as a street tree. If we’re going to plant under the wires we’ll plant a small tree like a little Crabapple that won't get too big.”

Baldwin pointed to small, spry Zelkova trees in Bicentennial Park as a good example of a street tree. They grow into a “vase shape,” she said.

Unlike Oak or Maple trees, which grow tall and spread, Zelkovas don’t need to be trimmed by Eversource, a process that “ruins the tree.”

And Baldwin hates to see trees ruined.

“I love trees because, you know what, they’re going to outlive us,” said Baldwin, who recounted the history of Marion’s tree planting efforts. “If you’ve seen old postcards of Marion you would’ve seen the American Elm all the way down and it was a beautiful sight.”

According to Baldwin, the American Elm died out and was replaced by the Princeton Elm — a tree which now lines many of Marion’s roads.

“Trees are majestic, they’re handsome,” she said. “Trees are my thing and they’re a lot of people’s thing.”