This morning I visited the recently opened 9/11 memorial site in New York. It was a clear morning in the city, conditions similar to that terrible day ten years ago.
When completed, the memorial site will contain more than 400 swamp white oaks. Many are already installed. They will provide a dappled haven and solace on a site fraught with darkness and death. Anchoring this urban forest is a single Callery pear tree. A charred stump after the attack, it was nursed back to health at the Arthur Ross Nursery in the Bronx. Other than having lost some symmetry in its near-death experience, it appears robust and glad to be back. Trees can have a unique power to center and comfort.
For my horticulturally inclined readers, the Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is native to China and Vietnam. It has become a popular ornamental tree in the U.S.
The landscape architecture firm on the design team is Peter Walker and Partners, based in Berkeley, California. In my former life as a garden show producer I had some interaction with this prominent firm.