It’s subtle. Pale yellow highlights spread through the fresh green of spring along rows of Linden Trees in FDR Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City. The early blossoms hint at new life and rebirth in a natural cycle continuing for millions of years.
by David Stone
Late Spring Blossoms: The Linden Tree Rows in FDR Four Freedoms State Park
The sight of Linden trees in bloom is a spectacular one. These beautiful trees are native to Europe, and their fragrant flowers have been used for centuries in traditional medicines. Linden trees are also popular as ornamental plants, and their blooms are often used in dried flower arrangements.
Aligning the meadow, the now ten-year-old Linden trees weave dense shady areas where sunset watching and friendly gatherings are popular. Adirondack chairs assembled by volunteers on I Love My Park Day ease bodies into their comfort zones.
Our Linden trees are young, but in Europe, some ancient relatives are known to have lifespans of over a thousand years.
About the Linden Trees
If you’re lucky enough to have a Linden tree in your garden, you can enjoy its blooms from early summer through to late autumn. Linden trees are relatively easy to care for, and they make a great addition to any landscape.
But the trees are also distinguished in importance but less visible ways.
Did you know that some trees have gender, distinctly male or female? Weeping Willow trees are like that, but not Lindens. Both genders arise in their blossoms. There’s a catch, though. Even with both genders present, they cannot reproduce themselves as some other plants do. They still count on wind and other sources carrying their seeds out into the universe of other trees.
Do you know how many seeds a tree must produce to get a single child started? A dandelion can spew out 2,000 to 3,000. A Linden tree produces even more than that. The chance for any one of them succeeding is slim. But that’s how nature does it.
The tiny flowers that Lindens generate are a primary nectar source for bees during late spring and early summer when other food sources are scarce. They are so essential to the honey industry that in Germany the Linden is called “the bee tree.”
The Lindens in FDR Four Freedoms State Park were planted as part of a larger effort to create an urban oasis for New Yorkers. The park is named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who famously said that all people deserve four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
The Linden trees are just one of the many ways that FDR Four Freedoms State Park is working to create a space where all people can enjoy the beauty of nature and the peace of mind that comes with it.
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