Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oak Trees, Acorn Collecting & Watercolor

Our neighborhood is filled with a variety of beautiful trees, especially Oak trees. One of the special treats each Autumn is collecting acorns. We've collected them nearly every year since my daughters were little. My husband planted one of our favorite Oaks, a Red Oak, in the easement of our front yard some 20 years ago. It has grown each year but it took some years to mature to where it finally has acorns. This year I've collected a huge bowl full of them. There are also White Oaks, Burr Oaks and Pin Oaks in our neighborhood so I never have to go far to find acorns. Just across the street from me is an old, old White Oak that is over 200+ (maybe closer to 300) years old. It was living there in that exact spot during the mid to late 1700's and American Revolutionary War. It has beautiful acorns this year too.

Much to my surprise, I learned of another old Oak tree that was living during the Revolutionary War too. Two years ago, a friend of ours was walking down town and found the tree. It has a marker with the dates 1787-1987 stating: "The National Arborist Association and the International Society of Arboriculture jointly recognize this significant tree in this Bicentennial year as having lived here at the time of the signing of our Constitution."  The discovery was news to me. I didn't know about this tree and I'm so glad our friend found it. My youngest daughter and I stopped by again two days ago to see if had acorns. It did and we got a nice bunch to bring home so now we have quite a collection to use for Autumn decorating. I'm even going to plant some to see if I can get some to grow. The acorns and leaves are always wonderful inspiration for art. I painted these today after looking through the leaves we pressed in old telephone books on Tuesday. Autumn is off to a beautiful start.

Baker Street White Oak

Acorns from the Baker Street White Oak in photo above:

I would love to see this ancient Oak tree some day: The Old Oak Tree of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church located in the graveyard.

From Waymarking:
This old oak was a sapling when Columbus discovered the Americas and already a full grown adult when Jamestown was settled in 1607. Famous English evangelists James Davenport and George Whitefield preached to over 3,000 people while standing under its branches in 1740. By the time of the Revolutionary War the oak was already nearly 400 years old and George Washington was said to have picnicked in its shade along with Lafayette and other officers.
In the 1930's in an effort to save it, a large cavity inside the tree was filled with 3 tons of concrete and the local water company installed 260 feet of steel rods and 1,500 feet of steel cables to support the weight of the tree's branches. It is reported to be one of the oldest white oak trees in the Western Hemisphere and its 156 foot spread is the widest of any tree in New Jersey.
The tree is currently on the property of The Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1829.


  1. I so enjoyed reading this on this brisk fall day. We, too, painted acorns from the white and burr oak! We also made adorable felted wool acorns. You notes were interesting on the old trees. My friend shared that her son was married a few months ago out west under an oak that was said to be 1,100 years old. It was monstrous!

  2. Oh, my, 1,100 years old! That is a lot older than the 400 year old Oak in New Jersey. I would love to see it.

    I've wanted to learn to make the felted wool acorns. They're on my "To Do" list but I haven't got to it yet.



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