live oaks

Tree Spirits

Image“X” Marks The Spot (C) 2014 – Bo’s Spirit Tree – by Debi Bradford
There are tree spirits in Airlie Gardens. One would think tree spirits would be prevalent in the grand old live oaks but that hasn’t been my experience. My friend, Bo, communicated with a solitary pine that leaned out over Airlie Lake during her last visit. She’d tried visiting with several live oaks beforehand with no results but the pine’s spirit hummed to her. I watched her connect then gently stepped away, back down the path to give her solitude with the ancient wood. This experience touched me.
ImageThe Arbor (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford
During my last reflective visit where I was seeking peace and solace, seeking to calm my soul I sought out the wisdom of the trees. First, I tried every live oak in my path. Nothing. Eventually, I stumbled upon an area I’d not visited before with an enchanting arbor, huge white azaleas and circle paths leading through flowers and ferns through massive trees. Shady and cool.
ImageMy Spirit Tree (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford
At the entrance stood this massive pine tree. I gently placed my hand upon her saucer-sized bark plates, closed my eyes and cleared my mind. At first, nothing. I sent the tree a silent prayer and was rewarded with a distinct humming that traveled through my hand, up my arm and into my heart. I found my tree spirit.
ImageThe Humming (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford
“A tree spirit is a type of nature spirit, and effectively the “living soul” of a tree. It has much in the way of wisdom and healing to offer those who are willing to listen and absorb, Louise Heyden informs.  Primarily, tree spirits act as the guardians and life force of the trees. Responsible for nurturing and growing them, the tree spirits are keen to share their wisdom regarding the care of the planet, particularly that of forests, woods and the wildlife that dwells within. They are also excellent healers, and leaning against the trunk of a tree can bring about great restorative powers.  The best way to begin working with tree spirits is to sit beneath one, leaning against the trunk, touching the bark, drinking in the tree. Meditating beneath it may bring visions, messages or dream.”
You may think me crazy (…most do…) but I know trees are alive in many ways and should be respected. Sharing so you’ll be aware of these spirits and treat trees, and the earth as a whole, with respect and love.



North Carolina Azalea Festival 2014


Tangled Up (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


There weren’t many blooms the day I visited Airlie Gardens for the Azalea Festival.  Heavy rains and strong winds had decimated most of the blossoms, ripping them up and laying down the tulips.  But the garden is resilient.  Pockets of azaleas enjoyed the cooler sunny day, raising their faces to the sunshine in defiance and happiness.


ImageEmerging (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


Soft green leaves had already shoved the dark leathery old leaves off the tips of live oaks.  These lively green leaves were bursting through the Spanish moss and greedily soaking in the sunshine.


ImageArchway (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


I found a pergola with a stunning arched entrance where I lingered, amazed by the treasure.  I’d somehow missed this architectural interest in all my recent trips.  Sauntering through the half moon shape, the lines in the gravel made by sun through the feature were fascinating.


ImageResurrection Ferns (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


The resurrection ferns lie atop massive live oak branches like icing on a cake.  Draping Spanish moss, filtered sunlight make the scene look surreal.  Indeed, it is…it is.


ImagePeeking Through (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


It was a lovely walk through a beautiful place.  Peaceful, serene, meditative.  Alone, I sat for long periods and thought of nothing but instead breathed deeply and became one with Nature. 

North Carolina Azalea Festival

ImageSpring officially begins for me with the North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina.

I’m not a huge fan of large events.

However, azaleas are blooming everywhere in this town and surrounding gardens!

Colors bright and vivid that make me happy!


2013 was a rough year for the azaleas thanks to numerous storms and cold weather.

Tulips planted at Airlie Gardens brought color to help accentuate the azaleas, live oaks and sweeping greenery.


Azaleas in more protected areas grew tall, creating floral hallways leading to lakes, benches and arbors.


In this image you can see the new, bright green live oak leaves peeking through Spanish moss.

The pollen is incredible.

My black car is now greenish yellow.


My favorite place to sit and think.

A sacred pine tree resides here.


Airlie Gardens is a small garden with easy walks through historic grounds.

A sweet place to be.

Live Oaks of Airlie Gardens

ImageThis weekend Wilmington, North Carolina, will be celebrating their annual Azalea Festival.

Last year I unwittingly went to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington during the festival.

Normally, I avoid crowds, preferring to soak up the peace and beauty in the quiet.

I wasn’t paying attention.


To my surprise the crowds were few and respectful of space.

Yes, I took photos of the azaleas and tulips.

But the live oaks draped in Spanish moss captivated me.

Most oaks here are hundreds of years old.

The Airlie Oak is over 400 years old.


Live oaks are evergreen.

They shed their leaves twice a year as new leaves randomly shove off old leaves.

The transition is always green.


Live oaks have enchanted the South for centuries.

They are one of my favorite trees.