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January 9, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

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Think of it like going to the zoo – only with leaves.

(Do not enter the enclosure and please don’t feed.)

Oak tree with zigzag path. (Image:© all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Path to the real Emerald City? (Image:©)

This old guy has it figured out. While many lesser humans prattle on about hydration, organics, integral training with short bursts of high energy plus yoga, and having deep roots in the community, he, well, it must be amusing to watch the warp speedy.

Although he will go along with the deep roots thing – and micro movement yoga. Talk about hot yoga, however, steams him up. Experience has shown him that too hot is a knotty situation.

After an unexpected – and unrequested – relocation, he had a little bit of a rough start.Well, he’s rally old, but knowing it’s better to bend than break, he’s now branched out and flourishing in his adopted land.

Besides seriously who doesn’t have a little jet lag after travel?

This is the Ghirardi Compton Oak that was dug up and moved like a giant’s bonsai  after the neighborhood was outraged the city and county wanted to chop it down for a road. Once the TV cameras showed up, the mayor and city council suddenly became tree lovers.

Barry Ward, executive director of Trees for Houston, believes this Compton Oak, well over 100 years old, is only one of two of its size and kind in all of North America.

Posts about that fight to save it (which he was most grateful for despite all the shaking. Besides he’s weathered many a storm.) The 2012 epic tree move:

This is one celebrity that deserves a reserved parking spot.

Posts about the development of the park and pictures of the final product:

And there’s a hill – manmade as those are was rare as hen’s teeth around here. Park has become a favorite spot for photo shoots with brides and family reunions. They hall in van loads of vintage props including velvet couches sometimes….just have to work around the dogs and running/rolling children.

Oak tree and rail fence. (Image ©: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

To the right of the rail fence is property belonging to the eldest Ghirardi. He donated part of his remaining family farm for the park if they would just save the tree.  There are numerous huge perfect for kids to climb trees in the park (to the left) not to mention the Moonshine tree that’s really older and bigger. Yep, there used to be a still under it – for medicinal purposes…that’s why they guard it. (Image:©)

Like everything, the Ghirardi Oak started out small…it’s the one on the right. The tree-shaded a home belonging to one of the many Italian families who settled in the area: Sebastian Ghirardi and Domenia Fillippa (married in 1919).

Guess what? The original house was saved, too.

Moved to the historical area by the Butler Museum, the home waits like Cinderella for her enchantment to begin.

Ghirardi farmhouse. (Image: © all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Ghirardi farmhouse. May not be a forest, but you can see the wood’s remaining.(Image: ©)

vintage farm house picture. Ghirardi house sign. (Image: all rights reserved. Copyrighted, no permissions granted)

If they can save and move a giant 100 year old tree, this should be a snap, right? This time they nailed it.(Image: ©)

Displaying all the right moves

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge






  1. easyweimaraner / Jan 9 2018 8:43 am

    I’m glad the ole oak tree will survive… and it maybe can wear many yellow ribbons… or it can tell us stories when we have the time to listen


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 12:25 pm

      This is one of Molly’s favorite outings – any season, any time of day. It’s a well used park that is close (Actually in a nearby neighborhood) but once there you feel like you
      ‘re a million miles out in the country. Somehow I think the tree enjoys watching all the dogs and kids romp on hill and trees, (Great leafy shuffling there). So worth all the determined effort by so many. We’ll give it a bark hello from you next time. Thanks for traveling this trail and stopping to chat.


  2. memoirsofahusk / Jan 9 2018 8:59 am

    One day when you have time, The Hidden Life of Trees will amaze you. I hope the tree keeps on surviving.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 12:20 pm

      That’s a fascinating book (for anyone who hasn’t heard of it, here’s two links: or Amazon with reviews
      With recent research about how plants are very aware and interact with their environment, you can start to feel differently about jerking up plants in your garden simply because you are tired of them. First we are stuck with annoying human relatives, now there’s vegetation that must be considered, too? HAHA
      Thanks for branching out with a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • memoirsofahusk / Jan 10 2018 1:49 am

        Sorry, of course I already mentioned it… Brain rest needed 😉 And yes, that was one reason why I couldn’t face buying a cut tree and bringing it indoors to die.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 10 2018 5:43 pm

          One book that cannot be showcased enough! (So the links)
          Yeah, can’t face chopping a tree simply for temporary home decor – have a lovely fake one that was waaaay too expensive until the store was bankrupt and closing. What a deal even after years and years and years and years of use.

          Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 10 2018 8:36 pm

          That book cannot be mentioned/featured enough! Really changes perspective.
          Difficult to chop a tree for temporary home decor. We found a gorgeous one years and years and years and years ago in a very expensive Christmas store – totally out of the question until suddenly the store went bankrupt and held a massive unbelievable sudden sale – I found out and ran in and sat on the last boxed one until I could get it written up…it’s still perfect and is perfectly happy being on stage only part of the year. Cats always said it’s just as good to sit under…well, RC did climb it her first few years, but then she kept saying she was practicing for Everest or a Sequoia- which ever was taller…we gave up trying to explain there was a difference…
          Thanks for branching out with a well trimmed comment

          Liked by 1 person

  3. pensitivity101 / Jan 9 2018 8:59 am

    What a wonderful story.


  4. Carrie Rubin / Jan 9 2018 9:06 am

    What a gorgeous tree. How wonderful they were able to save it by relocating it. If it’s been around that long, it deserves to live on. 😊


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 12:30 pm

      Some say oak trees have a bit of old magic – and you have to wonder. There’s always people, bikes, dogs, and a couple of cats hanging out there. This little pocket park demonstrates how important green space is. It may be just a neighborhood park, but the trees and there way it was done makes you feel like the area is far far away from civilization…maybe Brigadoon does exist. Thanks for rooting a comment here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Jan 9 2018 9:21 am

    WOW. I am impressed!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 12:31 pm

      Children’s lives are better with massive climbing trees and forests – even if it’s a small one – it feels much bigger than it really is. Can’t help but feel the tree smiles at it all. Thanks for planting a comment here


  6. Kate Crimmins / Jan 9 2018 11:11 am

    So happy that the tree survived that move.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 12:36 pm

      The planned road could have curved/forked around it, but no. Seems like any brainer to preserve the tree. But the struggle did let a lot of people know about this oak and a little history of the area. Great little park too – kids need big trees for many reasons.
      Hope you’re staying warm and sunny in this year’s winter weather pattern…lots of spring garden clean-up this year, I think.
      Thanks for climbing over to leave a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beth / Jan 9 2018 11:32 am

    As soon as I saw the photo, I started hoping this was the Ghirardi Compton Oak. WOO HOO!!! Glad it’s alive and thriving!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 12:38 pm

      I kinda like the fact that the tree’s former owner can still see it out his window. Would have been such a loss to the community, but probably would have broken his heart. This little jewel of a park is a perfect example of how important and cherished green spaces can be. Thanks fo adding a leafy comment

      Liked by 1 person

  8. aFrankAngle / Jan 9 2018 4:24 pm

    Saving touches of the past comes in many forms.


  9. Curt Mekemson / Jan 9 2018 5:54 pm

    Linda did a post on this a bit back and I really enjoyed it. Watched the video at the time. Fun to see what a community can do when it puts its mind to it.There’s hope, Phil. –Curt


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 6:22 pm

      Linda and I seem to dosey doe with posts about tree updates yearly. Tree has a lot of fans. (and photographs so well. These were actually done in Oct 1017, but got sidetracked before getting post done. Sometimes I feel like maybe just doing pictures on a post, but then there’s captions on the images…which spill over….). I do hope they can get funding and expertise for the house. With this humidity, wood frame houses don’t do well being neglected – even kind neglect.
      Thanks for planting a comment (I’m slowly catching up with comments and blog reading. Haven’t forgotten you!)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Amy / Jan 9 2018 5:55 pm

    As a child I spent large parts of every summer in my backyard tree. Still remember the huge black ants that competed for space. How wonderful the media got involved to see good done for this old oak.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 6:25 pm

      Nothing is better for kids than a giant tree. Classic fun. Tending a couple the front yard that are now ready for attention by the dreamy and starry eyed.
      Thanks for adding a leafy comment

      Liked by 1 person

  11. heretherebespiders / Jan 10 2018 1:26 pm

    Good to see an update on this mammoth beauty.


  12. restlessjo / Jan 11 2018 5:48 am

    Heavens! Nothing like a bit of enterprise in a good cause. 🙂 🙂


  13. PiedType / Jan 13 2018 4:45 pm

    So happy to see this update and know the tree is alive and well.


  14. LordBeariOfBow / Jan 13 2018 10:01 pm

    Only one of 2 in the whole of North America and the vandals wanted to chop it down? I know where the ax should have fallen, we English used to have a way with an ax, and applied it quite freely,


  15. Russel Ray Photos / Feb 11 2018 11:29 pm

    Back in Spring 1977, my group in Urban Forestry at Texas A&M University chose as our term project determining the value of mature trees in Houston. Most of the mature trees, of course, were in River Oaks, Memorial City, and in the Rice University/University of Houston/Texas Southern University area. The homes were fairly expensive to begin in those areas with but that’s where we focused. We were able to determine that just one mature oak in the right location could add $75,000 to the value of a home.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 12 2018 8:15 am

      Every house we plant oaks – the ones that keep their leaves until Valentines and then suddenly droop them as the new ones appear the next day. (So you know I’m doing a great deal of raking right now – great flowerbed mulch for summer, though)
      Trees are critical to deflect heat down here.
      Interesting you weren’t assigned Heights area for trees – it’s one of the oldest areas and was where the well to do railroad executives settled in early days. Even in the 50’s it was a well though of area – now lots of redone houses, some new (strong deed restrictions on building houses – but always the problem of no zoning in Houston, so odd mix of residences and businesses). You’d be surprised at Bellaire, West U, and others inside the 610 loop as the little trees planted after the war and by owners are now quite lovely large trees. (Those once called lesser – once waaay outside the city – subdivisions had builders who cut costs and gave each house lesser trees like pines and tallows – most of those fast growing short lived trees are MIA now.)
      Sadly not everyone protects the trees – we got wind of another group in danger where the school district is tearing down an old flooded school to rebuild…and there are 1-6 large oaks from the 1800’s where they want to add a few parking spaces. News of this chopping slipped out late, but heading over to see and decide what to do next. Groups hit the media with it – only hope.
      Glad to have housetop by – always enjoy wandering through your amazing blog photographs.


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