In the winter the sycamore is a magnificent tree. In this area the beautiful gray ladies stand majestically along rivers and streams. Without leaves, their gorgeous shape and peeling bark stand out against the white landscape. When we first purchased our land in the country,we walked every inch of the 30 acres. Not a single sycamore was growing here.
I had a tiny sycamore in my old garden. It was one of many plants given to me by Elle, one of my oldest gardening friends. So often she would call and say " I have a volunteer for you if you want it." She lived along the Ouleout Creek and sycamore trees were a frequent "weed" in her garden, "weed" being any plant that 's growing where it isn't wanted. When we left that garden some of the plants came with us. Baby sycamore got transplanted again. We carefully chose a spot back by the pond where there is plenty of water. Ed dug a large hole, removing many stones. Unbelievably there are even more stones back there than there are here in the garden. He refilled the hole with dirt and placed a metal cage around the tree to at least partially protect it from critters.
Now our baby has grown. the metal cage has long been replaced with fence posts and barbed wire to keep the deer from rubbing on her beautiful trunk. She still looks quite small outlined against the hemlock trees, but after more than a decade the tree grows an amazing amount every year.
Peeling bark is normal for a sycamore as it matures. The brown bark of youth is replaced with a smooth gray outer surface. We look for seed balls each year but so far our young tree remains fruitless. I read that sycamore trees live for five hundred years. Maybe our tree really is still a baby. Our hope is to have sycamore trees sprung from seed. The idea growing trees from seeds keeps us looking for a long future.