Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, May 10, 1999

A balm of Gilead resides in Howard Lake

By Donna Adickes

Have you ever heard of "Balm of Gilead?" Have you ever sung the hymn "There is a Balm in Gilead?"

I'd like to tell you there is a balm of Gilead tree in our neighborhood. I asked Leon Snyder, noted plant expert, and he told me the balm may be selection of the balsam poplar.

About 60 years years ago, Alvin "Pat" Patrick, who many of us remember as the school janitor for many years, lived on 10th Avenue had a balm tree. The Rev. and Mrs. R.R. Elkin, who lived in the old manse which had been moved to 67th Street, west of Howard Lake, like Pat's tree. He especially liked the fragrant resin, which is noticeable when the leaves first start to come out in the spring.

So, the Elkins took a twig, rooted and planted it as the manse. My parents, Dana and Letha Bowers, saw and smelled the tree and decided they would like to have one so they rooted and planted one at what is now 65th St.

When my family moved to our own farm on Hart Avenue, east of Howard Lake in the late '50s, I persuaded my husband to transplant a balm there, but on the condition that it would be mowed around.

You see, the only drawback about the balm is that new sprouts come up from the roots, so if it is not kept mowed, instead of one tree, you have a forest.

Now, we have moved to the 65th Street four acres and have just one balm tree, which we mow around diligently.

At the farm site on Hart Avenue, where the house burned down 10 years ago and no one lives, the yard is covered with balm trees.

If you would like to see and smell a balm tree, you can come to our home, soon, and if you would like to have a tree, that could be arranged, I think.


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