La llareta (up to 3,000 years old, Atacama Desert, Chile)
As a designer I counsel people all the time about the long term growth of a plant but in reality, I plan for achieving most of their goals for somewhere in the 5 year time frame. The reality of residential design is that people don’t have the patience or space for things that get really big (over a long period of time), nor is there a strong attitude of reverence for age and precedence. When I have an opportunity to plant something with the potential for greater longevity and true long term impact on the the landscape, I really feel the weight of added responsibility.
Clonal quaking aspens (80,000 years old, Fish Lake, UT)
It is because of this that I find really old plants remarkable (and that simply, really old plants are just amazingly cool). Rachel Sussman clearly has a similar reverence, she is the photographer that created these images (and more). She is in the process of photographing the worlds oldest living specimens — and the results are fascinating.
Welwitschia mirabilis (2,000 years old; Namib Naukluft Desert, Namibia)
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to plant a redwood tree – it was the perfect place on a great property where it will have everything it needs to someday grow to amazing heights. These pictures remind me of the excitement of that moment- knowing that something beautiful on this planet – that I was responsible for – will persist long past my own time here.
Fortingall yew (2-5,000 years old; Perthshire, Scotland)
It is worth a visit to Rachel’s website to see the images that she has gathered from all over the world. I am inspired to make travel arrangements with ports of call at some of these amazing specimens. How do these inspire you?
And I almost forgot to mention– you can join Rachel (via her blog) as she travels the world to take these amazing images. It’s a great armchair travel bargain.