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April 27, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Benched. Marked growth.

wooden carved sculpture of boy reading while dog beside him looks on. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permission granted )

Pinocchio in reverse? Sculpture of boy reading while dog looks on. (© image)

Who could say no?

An invitation to “Please. Sit and stay.”

A new library bench comes complete with solid friends and dreams to share. 

When a couple of our town’s original (from the 1800’s) oak trees became shaky and too diseased to survive, League City called local artist Jimmy Phillips, owner of Inshore Sculpture, to come have a look.

Armed with a chainsaw and an image in mind, he carved a child sitting and reading with a dog named Scout, who was the actual dog of League City founder J. C. League. Scout, a bit of a mascot along with Oaks trees for League City, also appears in several other sculptures being carved from the same felled oak trees for other spots around the city.

Could be a way to grow history? Dog and oak trees living on in a way.

Large oak trees by League City Hall. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Large oak trees on League City Hall’s front lawn looking west from the newest sculpture. Across the street is an open field with a dozen or so trees just as large. (© image)

Library's oak carved bench and sculpture (© image copyrighted , all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

It’s already enchanting young readers who need little encouragement to crawl on and get comfortable on the bench that was designed with the library’s “Read to the Dogs” program in mind. I think Scot would approve. (© image)

There are welcoming smooth teak benches and a picnic table on the shady porch, too. The cone shaped green tree is decorated during Christmas.

Not feeling like going in to get a book? Park right there after calling ahead or going online, and they will bring a library book to your car. If you’ve ever dealt with tired kids in car seats, or injured ankles, you can really appreciate that.

Zigzag gravel path in Ghiardi Park with 'hill" on right and the healthy despite the move Ghiradri Oak. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted.)

Zigzag gravel path in Ghirardi Park. To the right is our man-made “hill” built for kids and dogs to run up and roll down. About the only land feature around that isn’t board flat. (© image)

Not all the giant old trees are ready to become furniture and art.

One giant pulled up roots and took a small walk.

Ten years ago this oak tree was moved 1,500 feet from the original location to make room for an unnecessary widening a road at an intersection – only after the city was forced to give into the demands of the neighborhood and general public…(yes, we were about to chain ourselves to the tree to prevent it from being cut down in the middle of the night which we caught wind of.)

City leaders want credit for saving it, but whatever. Doesn’t matter. It’s safe here in the park on land donated by the Ghirardi family who arrive in 1892 from Italy to farm here. This has been a fruit and vegetable farm for a long time.

We think the wandering tree has settled in after fighting off disease, trimming, and winds from several hurricanes. (More posts about this wonderful Ghirardi Compton Oak tree and Ghirardi family here)

Standing under the massive Ghirardi Oak. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Standing under the massive over 100 year old Ghirardi Oak. To give a bit of scale, note Sr. Staff on bottom right. Currently the tree is 56 feet tall with over 100 foot wide canopy supported by a 135 inch trunk. Estimated to weigh some 258 tons.(© image)

Looks like a peaceful painting, right? Fields and sky.

Sadly, the land adjacent on the right of the park has been sold to developers and construction of townhouses is in progress. So I am cherishing the time left to absorb the view while it is open and wild.

Ever hear the phrase “going down the primrose path?”

While found several times in several of William Shakespeare’s plays, it was just too good as a visual image and metaphor to let gather dust.

Echoed with melancholy in the poem “Lines written in early Spring” by William Wordsworth (1798). “Nature’s fair works…” he starts, then ends with “What man has made of man.”

Who knew Bram Stoker would twist it into his first serial novel published 1875- years before Dracula? Murders his wife with a hammer, then cuts his own throat with a chisel? Flowers certainly had to be ordered after that. (download the novella free here)

The 1940 film “Primrose Path” stars Ginger Rodgers as a young girl trying to not follow her mother and grandmother’s profession only to have no other choice – but wait! It’s a 1940’s film! There must be redemption for Ellie May! Had to end with a socially correct bridal bouquet. (More about the movie here here or here.)

No bed of roses in any of those.

Enough flowery talk,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Wild flowers/primroses at Ghirardi Park. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Wild flowers/primroses path decorating Ghirardi Park’s little hill. (© image)

 

 

23 Comments

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  1. Kate Crimmins / Apr 27 2022 6:43 am

    I loves trees. I’m planting more at my new house. Only problem is that I may be dead before they are fully mature. Actually I will be dead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 12:02 pm

      Planting a tree – now that’s a real legacy – even if it is left in the care/appreciation of others.
      I am nurturing an oak in the yard into a tree climbing tree – in the hopes that in the future some kid will be brave and enjoy climbing into it – their own little world up there- when we eventually move. Somehow the thought makes me smile. (You will keep us up to date on what kind of trees you decide on and the progress – one of your comments on another’s blog said you landscape was accomplished – a minor miracle these days that anything gets accomplished.)
      Thanks for leafing a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Apr 27 2022 3:22 pm

        We signed the contract for the landscaping that was just finished last August. They said they couldn’t get to it until this July but they snuck it in early. We have a tree and a small shrub hedge to do. There is a guy who works for a landscaper but does small jobs like this on the side. I’ll be able to get it planted before I’m dead. However, whether I see it fully grown is another story! 🙂

        Like

  2. disperser / Apr 27 2022 7:43 am

    I’d love that bench for my backyard . . . even more, for it to be in the shade of a 100-year-old oak tree atop a hill in my backyard . . . but only if I had a huge backyard and the tree was far away from the house to not clog my gutters with non-decomposing leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 12:09 pm

      Maybe this tree commanding a big space is part of what makes this park so popular and such a great place to visit. Free the trees! HaHa. Luckily the ones in our front yard are much younger …and are being trimmed and encouraged to grow away from the house, but in a natural shape. (Had to add the last as there are so many tree trims by people who don’t bother to look at the top of tree and the way it normally grows…some quite appalling…like the oak “lollypop” shaped oaks down the block….shiver…bound to be a reckoning from the insult? HaHa)
      There’s a new-ish shop in Evergreen CO that has a talented wood carver…some bears and the usual – but his carved benches similar to this one are to die for…and I am determined, if we relocate…I promise to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in order to adopt one.
      Thanks for the visit and carving out a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean / Apr 27 2022 8:02 am

    In our previous home we had a path into the forest that we planted with primroses just so for a few weeks every spring we could truthfully state that we were going down the primrose path. We can be silly, but oh the fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 12:11 pm

      There is something about primroses showing up – whimsy? Fairy Land? They are so pleasant to have around. Love the idea of nurturing a path – (and it is so you HaHa)
      Thanks for planting a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

  4. easyweimaraner / Apr 27 2022 8:37 am

    I love it… and the dog looks a little like my two hooligans…

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 12:15 pm

      If we had a bench like that, wonder if Molly would bark at it all the time…especially at night? I can see a certain cat planting herself on top of a head and claiming it/dominance.
      The German would have probably nibble on it and tried to drag it around the yard just for fun…she was known for doing that…we always wondered her digestive system wasn’t a mess, but dog house relocation/self-remodeling never seemed to faze her. 😮
      Thanks for sitting with a comment here

      Like

  5. robstroud / Apr 27 2022 10:18 am

    Amazing piece of art. Sad, in the sense that it’s a “temporary” medium, and won’t last as long as some other (stone) masterpieces that have been around for millenia.

    But the source of the wood, and its very fragility, make the work all the more poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 12:17 pm

      That was my first thought, too – preserving it. But maybe better to recognize as you say, all things have their time.
      Appreciate your astute insight and comment

      Like

  6. SusanR / Apr 27 2022 10:23 am

    I’ve always loved wood carvings and this one is particularly creative. — Delighted to hear and see that the Ghirardi is doing well. I really didn’t think it would survive the transplant. And my first thought about the little hill … kites!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 12:21 pm

      There’s an artist/carver who has works in/outside a fairly recent shop in Evergreen, CO. The eagles, bears, and elk are cool ( and big) but would love to have one of those carved benches…inside…where it could be protected from weather – sigh, to have the money for whims – and houses large enough HaHa.
      It is indeed kite weather hear – there was a big kite outdoor event/Day in town recently. But nothing is as much fun was just a few up there in a spring sky in a pretty spot. (Beaches may have the wind, but just too hot after a bit for me…unless it’s kite surfing – now that looks like fun/way to get a real sunburn)
      Thanks for digging in with a comment here

      Like

  7. The Coastal Crone / Apr 27 2022 1:32 pm

    I love it when artists can salvage the remains of trees this way. Enjoy the view while you can!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 5:51 pm

      As much as this area offers, open areas are being developed – even our little island a few blocks away is being covered with townhouses on the marina – with the little lighthouse taken down except for a navigational light on a pole. We used to feel like we had a little isolate peaceful corner of the world still…now Forget the sweeping sunsets we’ve always enjoyed from the “bridge”. I’m beginning to feel like a bit closed in and city-invaded. Time to check out options – coastal or mountains – one of the other. Thanks for carving up a comment to leave here

      Like

  8. shoreacres / Apr 27 2022 4:39 pm

    I took a book back to the library a week or two ago — maybe three — and didn’t see the bench. It’s a terrific piece, and worth a trip back for a closer look. The conversation about preservation made me wonder about the post-Ike tree carvings in Galveston. Some were truly gorgeous, but if they weren’t treated somehow, I suppose many are fading away. No matter, really; they served a good purpose in their time, and now we’re moving on — until the next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2022 5:37 pm

      The artist did it on site during Earth Day. They were filming it, but I have yet to find the video link. The artist is a hoot – obviously enjoys children and was thrilled to have a small preschool girl observing his performance. At first she was hesitant to get into the middle of the sculpture, but once mom and artist assured her it was OK, she settled right in – and hugged the dog. Spontaneous, natural action and so cute. It is definitely worth a trip – there are 2 others planned – one at Hometown Heroes park is also done I think….also featuring Scout, too.
      Now if we could just get them to stop building apartments and paving stuff over…maybe utilize and develop the title streams and canals into pocket park and trails – the things that make spaces welcoming and livable for people…city elections coming soon!
      Thanks for chipping out a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres / Apr 27 2022 5:51 pm

        I’m supporting Nick Long for mayor. Do you remember the day I got kicked out of the Dudney Nature Center when Mayor Hallisey arbitrarily closed it because of Covid? I wrote quite a letter to Long, and got an immediate, coherent, and wise response from him. I’ve been watching him in Council ever since, and he’s the first politician in a long time I’ve been enthused about voting for.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. sustainabilitea / Apr 27 2022 8:42 pm

    Hurrah for saving that magnificent tree! I love the sculptures and happy to see the tree put to beautiful use by m favorite of all places, the library. 🙂 Here in Arizona covering every single bit of open space as quickly as possible seems to be the aim. Even though there isn’t much growing on some of the spaces, it makes me sad. Some are farm land and although I can’t fault the farmer for selling for what must be a tremendous price, what price space?

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Helen Devries / Apr 28 2022 10:34 am

    Well done your neighbourhood for saving that tree.
    We are reforesting half of the finca…the chap who works for us remembered the species that were here when he was a boy and that’s what we are planting.
    Would you mind if I showed this bench to a local artist? It might inspire him to do something on those lines for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2022 12:10 pm

      Good ideas should always be shared. We are restoring native prairie plants in many places here – may be small patches now but the hope is that the seeds and plants will be gathered and spread by nature, too.
      So many talk about helping the environment (blah, blah, blah), but are unwilling to do the obvious, most simple, and local things that really make a difference. Int make take years to grow, but reforesting makes a big difference long term. Hooray for patience. Thanks for planting a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

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