by Janet Fitzgerald, HAS Member
Photo Credit: Debra Stinton Othitis
The graceful and stately American Elm tree is indisputably the centerpiece of the HAS Heritage Garden. It boasts an umbrella-shaped canopy and has branches like spreading fountains. Its engaging winter architecture gives way to green leaves in summer that turn gold in fall. This tree can provide some serious shade. It’s likely the HAS tree (Ulmus americana) was planted about 1908, when the historic Van Briggle Pottery building opened in what was then the newly-formed Monument Valley Park.
Although this would currently date the tree at more than a century old, American Elms can live up to 300 years and grow to more than a 100 feet. The American Elm in the HAS Heritage Garden survived the devastating flooding of Monument Creek in 1935. It also escaped succumbing to the nation-wide scourge of Dutch Elm disease in the 1930s. The last known measurements were taken in 2007 for the Notable Trees of Colorado calendar. At that time the tree was 50 feet high and had a trunk diameter of 49 inches.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in our new Garden Spotlight series featuring photos from Debra Stinton Othitis.