Tree Hunt

Posted by: Rick Pariani in Uncategorized

cross treeWhen you enter the realm of the World Golf Village, you will encounter many beautiful Southern Live Oaks. Before designing the thematic plant palette for the community, I went on a Tree Hunt to witness the majesty of the oldest and most grand and massive Live Oaks in the region. I encourage you to take a Saturday or Sunday break and go on the same hunt, for I know you will be pleasantly rewarded.

I suggest you start in America’s First City, St. Augustine. There you will find the Old Senator, a gigantic Live Oak persisting within the confines of the Howard Johnson’s Motel parking court, off of San Marco Boulevard. This tree is testament to the strength, adaptability and long-life characteristics that distinguish its species. No wonder that its wood was prized by ancient boat-builders.

After St. Augustine, head north to Jacksonville and go to the grounds of Episcopal High School between the St. Johns River and Atlantic Avenue. On the riverside portion of the school you will discover the venerable Great Oak, preserved as a campus landmark. The Great Oak spreads out over 100’ in diameter with cantilevered branches that sweep the ground. It serves as a quiet and graceful gathering spot for outdoor discussions and meetings.

Your next foray should be to enjoy the courtyard at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Nestled in the space between the river and the Museum is one of the most unusual Live Oaks living today on the banks of the St. Johns. The Cummer Oak’s broad, horizontal branches extend out towards the river, yearning for light, air, and more space. The juxtaposition of tree and architecture produces a superlative composition, and a wonderfully unique garden.

Return to the heart of downtown Jacksonville’s southbank district and you will discover an unbelievable tree. The Treaty Oak may be one of the oldest and largest Live Oaks in existence, anywhere. The canopy and branch structure of the tree envelops almost an acre of land. The City Park Department erected a boardwalk beneath the canopy, affording visitors the opportunity to literally commune within the tree’s own territory and history – for a most memorable experience.

A fifth worthy candidate to hunt down is the Heritage Oak at World Golf Village. This tree resides at the corner of Oakgrove Avenue and Oakgrove Avenue, due to a very important field adjustment we made during construction to preserve the tree. The Avenue alignment was adjusted from a thru street to a stop intersection, so that it would be far from the tree’s trunk and canopy. Because of the tree’s importance and beauty, we convinced the regulatory agencies to support and approve our adjustment, resulting in the unusual continuation of the street name after making a stop and 90 degree turn. Today the tree is the centerpiece of Heritage Oak Park and is a beloved resident of the King & Bear Neighborhood.

Now that you have successfully concluded your hunt, you can collect these magnificent trees for your own home. “Tree Man”, Stephen Malkoff, The Official Artist of the National Register of Famous and Historic Trees, was commissioned to draw and render each of these specimens. Limited edition, signed and numbered prints (custom framed at +- 20” x 28” or not) of each tree are available from the artist at the Malkoff Gallery in Enterprise, Alabama (contact

I eagerly invite you to the offices of the Davidson Companies, at the gateway to the World Golf Village, to see the original, 40” x 50” pencil rendering of the Heritage Oak at World Golf Village. It took the artist a labor of love of over four months to complete this special, $35,000, commission. It is one of over twenty-four of the famous and historic trees rendered by Mr. Malkoff. Maybe you will want to extend your Tree Hunt to include the other ones in his portfolio. It would prove to be a hunt for nature at its finest.


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