Arbor Day Celebration in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden
By Joanne Larson
The sun shone on a special Arbor Day celebration in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden on January 27th. A Cherry tree was planted in memory of Howard Holt, supporter of Violet Crown Garden Club's annual flower shows at Zilker Botanical Garden, and husband of Sandra Holt, AAGC's VP of Community Support.
Howard was a proud father, veteran, and always an enthusiastic volunteer. Planting the Cherry tree was a way for garden club members to express appreciation for Howard's involvement over the years.
Dedication remarks were made by Donna Friedenreich, President of the Austin Area Garden Council, and Don Freeman, AAGC's VP of Horticulture, shared a brief history of Arbor Day. The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 when J. Sterling Morton spearheaded the project resulting in the planting of over 1 million trees in the state of Nebraska. Morton served as Secretary of Agriculture and improved agriculture techniques across the United States. His most important legacy is Arbor Day, celebrated in all 50 states, as well as around the world – often with variation in names such as 'Greening Week' in Japan, 'New Year's Days of Trees' in Israel, and 'The National Festival of Tree Planting' in India.
The tree chosen was an Okame Cherry [Prunus 'Okame'], a hybrid that bears profuse blossoms of a clear, bright pink opening from darker buds. Blossoms appear before leaves in the spring. In the autumn, dark green foliage turns brilliant orange.