What hath the elm tree to do with literature? The American elm was mostly destroyed by Dutch elm disease, first recorded in the US in 1930. Lone, isolated American elms still exist, but only one alley of American elms remains, found in Central Park, New York City. These beautiful, curvy survivors line Literary Walk, alternating with sculptures of well-known authors.
American elms often have a few distinctly curved limbs, such as the last elm of an alley in Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. These tall trees were popular for lining streets as they had long trunks with few low branches, but instead spreading overhead like a canopy :
And if you feel inspired, render the tree in pen and ink:
My personal trifecta of elm trees was completed by the discovery of a charming vintage watercolor salvaged from the vast wasteland of a Goodwill mega-bin. I’m amazed the painting survived, and further amazed to recognize the curved branches of the trees as likely elms:
From the lone surviving elm at Longwood Gardens, to the last surviving grove in Central Park, to the surviving documentation of a country lane flanked by elms, likely long, long gone. But not forgotten.
Trees, please! Keep reading, keep connecting, keep appreciating!