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Diana Beresford-Kroeger and husband Christian

I played with my dolls in the trees. The trees were my friends.  One day I had set up house on a Barberry bush and my neighbour, Dr Barrett, came over to me and told me that I could eat the yellow flowers. Both of us enjoyed them, together. Then he produced a brown paper bag and offered me a chocolate covered date.

Dr Barrett, his wife, and her sister, all wore steel rimmed spectacles. That impressed me. They were a family of spectacles. So therefore, I asked that learned man the names of my friends. I wanted to know the actual names, not pussycat names, the real thing. He rang out the names in Latin of the arboretum that grew in front of our Georgian house, The Terrace.

I went to my first day of school and sat at my tiny desk and began to draw with my handful of new coloured pencils. My new Senior Kindergarten teacher asked me what I was drawing. I drew myself up and informed her of the names of my tree friends, all in Latin of course. Then I looked out the window of the classroom, which was high over the walled garden of our local Pharmacist and threw in one more name of a nectarine for good measure. My teacher literally had a fit.

She marched off to the head mistress’s office without closing the door. There was a loud conversation. I was terrified. Later that day a letter was sent to my mother, I was even more terrified now. My mother was furious with me for making, “an exhibition” of myself. I knew in my bones that I was in big trouble. I hid behind the couch with my dolls and waited for the dust to settle.

My husband, Christian, and I are members of the OWA for a very simple reason. We both love trees and the natural world we have around our house in the country. We learn something from nature every single day.

Editor’s note:

Diana and Christian are members of the Lower Ottawa Valley Chapter. Diana’s passion for trees has resulted in numerous books and one documentary film (The Call of the Forest). For further reading here is a list of her publications:

  • To Speak for the trees
  • The Medicine of Trees: The Ninth Hair-Brown Memorial Lecture
  • Sweetness of a Simple Life
  • Arboretum Borealis
  • The Global Forest
  • Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest
  • Time Will Tell
  • A garden for Life
  • Global Chorus (Anthology)
  • Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees (Anthology)
  • International Handbook of Forest Therapy (Anthology)

Member Profile

  • Lorne Smith
    Lorne Smith

    I live on the farm where I was raised on McCowan Road, just north of Major Mackenzie Drive and south of the Markham Fair Grounds. The farm has been owned by our family since 1917.

    In 1962, when I married Carol Reesor from Cedar Grove, we built our new home on the farm. Part of the property is a regenerating forest/wetland and all of the trees around the house have been planted by me over the years. Right now I am being plagued with dead ash trees which I am cutting down for firewood to use in the air-tight stove in the basement.

    In addition, the family owns 325 acres of mixed forest just east of Bobcageon where I boil maple syrup each spring. This forest is all under a MFTIP plan.

    I have developed a real commitment to good management of these properties and the membership in OWA has provided me a great deal of information, encouragement and friendship with many like-minded individuals.

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