Thursday, November 17, 2011

Summer Walks

Before Lillian was born Leann and I often went on walks around Provo.[1] After she was born [2], we still went on walks, but I had less time to post pictures from our walks. Now its getting too cold to go on regular walks—especially with the baby. So, here are some highlights of the walks we've been taking for the last few months.

First, some of the trees we've seen. The first three are closely related.

A black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). The name refers to the fact that its seed pods are black and resemble locusts.[3]

An Idaho locust (Robinia × ambigua), a hybrid between the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia; shown above) and the clammy locust (Robinia viscosa). This is often incorrectly referred to as the pink locust based on the color of its flowers.

A bristly locust (Robinia hispida var. fertilis), which has very spiny branches and seed pods.

A Siberian pea shrub (Caragana arborescens), which I've mentioned before.[4]

A broom [5] that I haven't managed to identify, yet. It's most likely in one of the following genera: Cytisus, Genista, or Spartium.

Here we have two invasive trees growing next to each other along the running trail on the south end of BYU campus. On the left, in front of the stairs (and growing over them) we have a Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia).[6] On the right, behind the stairs, we have saltcedar (Tamarisk ramosissima).

And that gives us a segue into the next set of photographs. There have been a lot of changes made on BYU campus this summer.

First, they put a boardwalk around the Botany Pond (also known as the Duck Pond because of the mallards that stay there all year long).

Second, they renovated the canal along the jogging trail and put in a few artificial waterfalls.

Third, they've torn out the Terrace Gardens and are in the process of tearing out the Cluff Building (i.e. the greenhouses) to make way for the new Life Sciences Building.[7]

Fourth, they've started rebuilding the Terrace Gardens in that secluded area part way up the stairs by the Botany Pond (i.e. south of the Benson Building).

Finally, they've demolished the garish and controversial statue, The Tree of Wisdom.[8]

The rest is just miscellanea:

Some geraniums with weird petals.

A few roses.

Some vines.

Next, a few more unusual houses. The one on the top has an octagonal room to the right of the front door, but it still has a square gable. The one on the bottom has part of its roof extending nearly all the way to the ground (left side of the photograph).

Here is an inexplicable jog in the sidewalk. Perhaps the concrete crew was bored that day? The homeowner was difficult? A highly localized tectonic shift?

The face of this man is spray painted on the sidewalk of University Avenue, near Center Street. I'm inclined to say he's someone from the 18th or 19th Centuries, but I can't figure out who.[9] If you recognize him, please let me know!

And to finish things off, someone built these awesome creatures for Hallowe'en outside their apartment. I'm still stunned two weeks later.


[1] For example, see my post An Evening Walk.

[2] See my post Unexpected Delivery.

[3] Some have supposed that the seed pods of another legume, the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), were actually the locusts eaten by John the Baptist (Mt. 3:4; Mk. 1:6). However, 1. Jews were permitted to eat locusts (Lev. 11:22), 2. the Greek word for locust in the Gospels (ἀκρίς, pronounced akris) is used elsewhere in the New Testament (Rev. 9:3, 7) to mean a flying grasshopper, and 3. the seed pods of the carob tree are referred to elsewhere (Lk. 15:16) using a different Greek term (κεράτιον, pronounced keration).

[4] See my post The End of Procrastination II.

[5] See (shrub).

[6] Despite the fact that it's invasive and destructive, there is one thing that makes the Russian olive interesting: it is one of the few non-legume plants that forms a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

[7] To see an artist's conception of the new Life Sciences building, see here.

[8] Read why here.

[9] My best guess is Robert Burns (see here), but I'm probably wrong. (Perhaps these are Provo's equivalent of the Toynbee Tiles?)


  1. He looks like Captain Kirk to me. ;)

  2. Wow, there really have been a lot of changes on campus since I left. The Tree of Life was controversial?

    Nice pictures, they make me miss Utah.

  3. Most people I talked to thought that the Tree of Wisdom was ugly and didn't belong on campus. But there were a select few who just couldn't get over it. Leann was a little sad since we ate lunch together a few times in its shade.