Meet Mall-Tree Norm

It’s surprising how many people “shake hands” with this tree. ‘He’ gets a lot of stares.....a LOT of, “Is it real?!” Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t stop to admire him, and touch the drooping branches. It really is quite amazing. This tree is soooo under-the-radar popular, that people don’t even realize they are gazing at a celebrity.

I’m going to call this tree Norm. Just seems fitting. Norfolk. Normal. Enormous. Norm. I like him. He looks peaceful. Graceful. Friendly. Calming. And, it brings a smile to my face every time someone shakes his,...well, um....branch.

I always liked Norm...but, I really started to notice that people seemed to be unknowingly drawn to the bench under the tree,....and yes, there are other benches in close proximity. Nope, people were/are drawn to this tree! They would sit exactly where the drooping branch jutted out just enough to lightly touch the back of people. You could say he is a jokester. People would turn around in surprise, to see....”Oh, it’s just the tree.” They would smile or laugh, then feel the branches. So yes, turned into ‘handshakes’ with Norm. Mostly touching to feel if he was real.

Meet Norm. This tree is a Norfolk Island Pine. What I first found out is, it is a tropical pine. Tropical, you say?! I fell immediately in love. They are often used as outdoor landscape in Florida. Indoors, under low light, will cause the “flowy” (made up word for flowing), droopy look. And, THAT it certainly has....drawing people to Centre Court at Heritage Place Shopping Centre in Owen Sound.

Norfolk Island Pines (Nips) have an undeserved reputation as disposable decor (gasp), but with proper care, they can last for years. One must think; rocky soil, sandy shores, excellent drainage & full sun...pretty much their native environment. They need bright natural light. I can relate, Norm....I can relate. This is how they get and maintain healthy, strong, horizontal branches. If you don’t let them slowly get used to drafty areas or heating or cooling ducts, they will drop their lowest branches, which will never grow back. Defiant, aren’t they? And, almost like a broken heart. Don’t worry, Norm...I feel the same about the cold, only, I would like to KEEP my limbs.

Lately, I find that I am dreaming about adopting my own Norm. Yes, I am willing & ready to take on the challenge. Ideally, a renovation or building of an indoor courtyard in my next home would make it perfect. I probably need to start buying lotto tickets if I want that dream to become a reality. Right now, I am pretty sure my realtor, Brandon Vanderschot at Brand Realty Group, is shaking his head and rolling his eyes, thinking ‘here we go again.’ No pressure, Brandon. No pressure.

So, I got to thinking....can being around trees be good for our mental & social well-being? I believe there are benefits to being around trees (or, around a forest.) It is said that trees will boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve your mood, increase your ability to focus (I did write this blog, so it must be working), accelerate recovery from surgery/illness, increase your energy & improve your sleep. Research even suggests that trees make us kinder towards others....more generous. I’ll have to try that theory on my husband when the credit card bill comes in. Kidding....he is already kind & generous. But, of course,...we have plenty of trees surrounding (and on) our property. (Wink, wink.)

Come out to meet Norm at Heritage Place Shopping Centre in Centre Court. Shake his hand,, branch. Take a photo with him. He is full of personality. He will not disappoint you. And, yes...he IS real. Then......look around because you just may see me in the corner of the Brand Realty Group location....watching, smiling.

- Donna