’Tis the season to be mauve at Seattle’s Green Lake.
Tree nuts flock to Green Lake all year round to marvel at the towering Sequoias, noble Elms and whispering Cottonwoods. In spring the cherry trees gnarled with age billow with blooms of palest pink and white. In autumn golden Plane trees shower the paths with luminous leaves.
Books and poems laud the arboreal splendor of the plantings, which are fastidiously maintained by the city’s parks department. Cherished by locals and visitors alike, many of the trees were planted to honor significant events or citizens, although not all were planted out of love. For instance, the city’s publication “Outstanding Trees of Green Lake” notes: “The six Cedars of Lebanon by the tennis courts are the largest in Seattle and have a fascinating history. They were planted in 1934 to placate an irate lawyer.”
Yet while the mighty Redwoods and and soothing Cedars get top billing on the star tree program, even the lesser trees have their moments.
Right now, it’s showtime for the Red Hawthorns. Normally, they don’t excite much interest, being either too small to catch the eye, or too shapeless to ignite passion. And they’re not even red, really. More a kind of pinky mauve.
But in their own quiet way the masses of tiny mauve blooms sweeten the mix.
The artist James Whistler once said “Mauve is just pink trying to be purple.”
Maybe so, but I give it points for trying.