Great Trees: Web Extra

A Web-only extra to the "Great Trees" feature in our April 2009 print edition.



The George Peabody Arborvitae, found in Pittsburgh, stands tall.

George Peabody Arborvitae

Marie and Jeffrey Carelle planted a tree to commemorate the birth of each of their four children. This evergreen beauty was daughter Melissa’s, a tiny thing when Marie carried it home from the nursery. Now 25 years old and living in Oregon, Melissa is welcomed home by this stunning arborvitae each time she returns to Pittsburgh to visit family and friends.

Rising like a golden sunbeam behind Weischedel Florist and Greenhouses next door, its color is most vibrant in the late afternoon, when the foliage literally glows. Marie has long since lost the tree’s plant tag, but this lovely specimen appears, by its color and habit, to be a George Peabody arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘George Peabody’).  

Marie herself grew up on this property, and it was from her father, Robert Thiel, that she inherited her very green thumb.  Like his father before him, he gardened their verdant patch before Marie and Jeff assumed stewardship. How like Pittsburgh for a family to lovingly tend the same plot of ground for four generations!


Southern Magnolia

A grand old southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is not particularly newsworthy, at least not south of the Mason-Dixon Line. But this statuesque beauty grows in East Liberty, dwarfing others of her species in the Pittsburgh area and defying our northern winters. Evidently no one thought to tell her that southern magnolias weren’t hardy here – or else she simply paid them no mind.

This tree is almost famous. In the most recent edition of Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (1998, Stipes Publishing), author Michael Dirr claims to have witnessed a mature southern magnolia thriving in Pittsburgh. This is that tree. 

Beautiful glossy evergreen leaves are the perfect backdrop for the dinner plate-sized creamy white flowers in June. If one can reach them to confirm it, the blossoms are as sweetly scented as perfume. No telling how old this specimen is – it’s not polite to ask a lady’s age – but I first marveled at her elegant beauty 25 years ago when I moved to Pittsburgh. She was already of blooming age at the time. Since southern magnolias can take fifteen to twenty years to bloom from a seed, she may just gracefully be approaching middle age.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

The 10 best things to do in April in Pittsburgh.
20 Great Biking & Hiking Trails in Western Pennsylvania

20 Great Biking & Hiking Trails in Western Pennsylvania

Each trail has been lovingly constructed and maintained, using old infrastructure to reconnect disparate communities.
A Superior Strategy? Kevin Sousa's Big Bet on Braddock

A Superior Strategy? Kevin Sousa's Big Bet on Braddock

Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa will draw on a fierce work ethic, community goodwill and faith in his own vision for Superior Motors, the progressive American spot he plans to open this year.
Getting Better Over Time: PNC Park at 15

Getting Better Over Time: PNC Park at 15

Adoration for PNC Park is near-universal. But would the park be the cherished baseball palace it is today if a few early proposals instead had become reality?
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

#GottaSee: Pittsburgh-Area College Students' Trick-Shot Video

#GottaSee: Pittsburgh-Area College Students' Trick-Shot Video

Could you do this with a ping pong ball?
Pens and Pittsburgh Agree on Outdoor Big Screen Location for Playoffs

Pens and Pittsburgh Agree on Outdoor Big Screen Location for Playoffs

There will be watch parties for all of the home playoff games against the Rangers.
5 Breathtaking Images of Lightning over Pittsburgh

5 Breathtaking Images of Lightning over Pittsburgh

When the spring and summer storms roll in they trigger a light show like no other.
Cool & Creepy: A Drone Tour of Abandoned Pa. Turnpike & Tunnels

Cool & Creepy: A Drone Tour of Abandoned Pa. Turnpike & Tunnels

What would Pennsylvania look like after a "Walking Dead"-style apocalypse? This video gives you an idea.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

The 10 best things to do in April in Pittsburgh.
20 Great Biking & Hiking Trails in Western Pennsylvania

20 Great Biking & Hiking Trails in Western Pennsylvania

Each trail has been lovingly constructed and maintained, using old infrastructure to reconnect disparate communities.
A Superior Strategy? Kevin Sousa's Big Bet on Braddock

A Superior Strategy? Kevin Sousa's Big Bet on Braddock

Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa will draw on a fierce work ethic, community goodwill and faith in his own vision for Superior Motors, the progressive American spot he plans to open this year.
Getting Better Over Time: PNC Park at 15

Getting Better Over Time: PNC Park at 15

Adoration for PNC Park is near-universal. But would the park be the cherished baseball palace it is today if a few early proposals instead had become reality?
PittGirl: Preparing for a World Series Toast

PittGirl: Preparing for a World Series Toast

Thanks to her husband believing in "happy wife, happy life," PittGirl has the perfect wine to celebrate the Pirates' ultimate victory.
Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module