Dear Mr. William Moriaty,
I found your piece on Florida botanical gardens in La Floridiana while I was doing some research on donating trees. I wonder if you could give me some advice or point me to the right resources to help me decide what do about a crepe myrtle that was planted as a memorial to my oldest daughter who died in April of 2001. The tree is well established on my mother-in-law’s property in Leesburg, which is in Lake County, Florida. My mother-in-law will be selling her property sometime in the next year and moving to a retirement community. She plans to leave the crepe myrtle where it is, in her current backyard, near a holly bush planted as a memorial to a son of hers who is also deceased. There is a canal dividing her property from a strip of public land where we, the family, could walk and view the crepe myrtle and the holly bush across the canal.
I am having a hard time accepting this. Sitting under that crepe myrtle has brought me a lot of comfort, and I thought I could research the feasibility of transplanting the tree, or at least taking cuttings of new growth and having them planted somewhere. What I’m wondering is if there is some park or garden that might take the crepe myrtle as a donation. l’d also like to know the same about the holly bush, in case other family members feel the same way. I’ve read on line that a crepe myrtle can be transplanted in fall or spring, and that cuttings can be taken of new growth in spring and fall. If we transplanted the entire tree or holly bush, would it need to be a location within a few miles of my mother-in-law’s home? Would there be a great risk that they might not survive the transplanting? If that’s so, might there be a park or garden that would be willing to root and raise cuttings?
If you can answer any of these questions, or point me to the right resources, I’d be grateful. I live in Temple Terrace and occasionally visit the USF Botanical Gardens. My name is Ceridwen Taliesin (Welsh). You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance.
WILL MORIATY RESPONDS:
Hello Mr. Taliesin:
Thank you for your inquiry and thank you for reading our on-line newsletter.
For the sake of the trees, the least injurious and invasive way to proceed would be to leave them undisturbed on the property and once the new owner is determined, explain to them the significance of them to you. I did such a thing in Greensboro, North Carolina where I planted a 5' tall Tulip Poplar tree in 1984 in her yard. In 1994 she passed away, and by 2001 her husband sold the property. The tree is now 50' tall and the current owners, who live across the street and have been neighbors since day one, have promised to not disturb the tree. Since my sisters passing I have gathered seeds and propagated offspring of the tree several of which grow in yards of friends in several locations in North Carolina.
I recommend that you gather a dozen or so cuttings, get some rooting hormone and containerize the plants in a potting medium until they are large to out plant (generally 3' to 6' tall).
If you want the Crape Myrtle and Holly transplanted into a nearby park or public space, I recommend that you first determine the owner of the parcel and submit a request in writing to see if they would be willing to accept your donation and have the ability to transplant the materials. If they will not be able to transplant the material but accept the donation, you may want to contact a local arborist or landscape contractor to conduct the work.
In any event, the City of Leesburg's Parks and Recreation Department can be contacted by first linking to them on the world wide web at http://www.leesburgflorida.gov/recreation/index.aspx
I hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck in this notable endeavor.
Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc.
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