The season of the spruce

The spruces here on Spruce Point stand for quite a bit in defining who we are at the Inn. They are, of course, the emblem of The Pine Tree State of Maine. And at this time of year, as major cities select dramatic trees for holiday displays, the season of the spruce is upon us.

Spruces have stood here for tens of thousands of years – since the glaciers retreated and the first green took root among the boulders left behind. After coastal settlement and land-clearing new stands of spruces grew up, especially in the past 50-100 years. Yet, according to the Maine Forest Service, the stands of trees on coastal headlands and neighboring islands are under constant threat from storms, drought, invasive insects and plants (like mistletoe!).

Like Mainers, there is little antidote for the rocky soil we come from or the winter winds we stand against. But the answer is in new growth as saplings grow in sunny patches, often among the roots of a blown-down tree. On the 56 acres of our site, spruces find a welcoming home, where as stewards of the environment we encourage growth, avoid pesticides and honor the trees. We continue to learn from the best practices at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens – celebrating the Year of the Tree in 2013.

And as we watch the festive lightings of trees in New York, and Boston and Washington, we look out the window at the spruces on the Point. You will forgive us if we think those trees -- decked with bluejays and chickadees, draped occasionally with snow, and topped with starlight -- are the most breathtaking of all.