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Growing an Italian stone pine tree
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 - Sheep in Rome? Yup. We saw this little farm along the Via Appia Antica. Note the characteristic umbrella shape of the stone pine trees in the background. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Sheep in Rome? Yup. We saw this little farm along the Via Appia Antica. Note the characteristic umbrella shape of the stone pine trees in the background.
When we visited Italy in 2003, we stayed in Rome for two weeks. Rather than spending a few days in each city, packing and unpacking, traveling, getting used to a new hotel room, we opted to become residents of Rome. It was a wise decision.

One of the more interesting things we saw were the unusual trees in the hills surrounding the city. They looked like giant umbrellas. When we got home I did a search for them on the Internet. It turns out that they were pine trees -- very different from the cone-shaped ones you see here in Northern Virginia.

The stone pine tree is the source of those great pine nuts they use in traditional Italian pasta dishes. But there has been a problem with pine nuts lately. (Google "pine mouth syndrome" for the details.) it turns out that a lot of the pine nuts sold in America now come from China, and some may be coming from trees whose seeds are not edible. So what better excuse for growing my own pine nuts?

The Italian Stone Pine tree (pinus pinea) is native to parts of Europe and can be found in the warmer areas of North America. But could I grow some in Northern Virginia?.

Seems that this is easier said than done. None of the local nurseries had stone pine trees, so I turned to the Internet. No problem, I could order as many tree seeds as I wanted. Where would we be without the Internet?

But you don't just run out to the garden and plant these seeds in the ground. There's a whole procedure you have to follow. First you soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. That's to soften up the shell that surrounds the seed. Then you pack the seeds in wet peat moss in a ziploc bag and put them in the refrigerator for 60 days.

At that point it was spring and time to see if any of the seeds had sprouted. It didn't look like it, but I put them in pots just in case. Out of the ten seeds I started with, two actually sprouted. Being as they are Italian pine trees, I named them Marcello and Angelina.

They'll probably spend a year or two in the pots before they are big enough to put into the earth. When fully grown, they can reach a height of 80 feet and a crown width of over 100 feet. It will be a real sight for our neighbors.

Notes: Pictures here were taken with my Sony DSC-F707 and DSC-R1, and with my trusty Panasonic DMC-FZ18 and DMC-FZ35.

 - View from a Vatican window. The stone pine tree is on the right. Note the distinctive umbrella shape. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
View from a Vatican window. The stone pine tree is on the right. Note the distinctive umbrella shape.
 - Nope, it's not magic beans to grow a beanstalk. These are seeds for my new pine trees. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Nope, it's not magic beans to grow a beanstalk. These are seeds for my new pine trees.
 - A newborn stone pine tree. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A newborn stone pine tree.
 - Another view of a newborn tree. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Another view of a newborn tree.
 - Stone pine tree after about three weeks. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Stone pine tree after about three weeks.
 - Stone pine tree after two months - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Stone pine tree after two months
 - A fantasy of how my Italian stone pine trees will look when fully grown. - - Italian Stone Pine Tree - Umbrella Pine - Pinus Pinea - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A fantasy of how my Italian stone pine trees will look when fully grown.
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About Tony Karp
Recent Entries
Fortune Qwerkies (tm) -- Fortune cookies for the smartphone user
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- The evolution from flat to solid
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- Showing how the pieces fit together
Getting a grip on the Panasonic DMC-LF1
Some random thoughts about the Panasonic DMC-LF1
The Panasonic DMC-LF1 is a game-changer
Art and the Zen of QR Codes -- Making QaRt
A new process for printing art in the 3rd dimension
Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!
Photographing the Perry Como Show
Hiking at Sky Meadows with my Panasonic DMC-ZS20
Working for the union
A new take on JPEG vs raw - Panasonic DMC-ZS20
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-ZS20 - Part 2
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-ZS20 - Part 1
My new go-everywhere camera - Panasonic DMC-ZS20
My brief life in the studio
Shooting Shakespeare - The Tempest - NBC, 1960
Impressionist bees
In the studio with Roz Kelly
At the Peppermint Lounge - 1962
An evening with Gene Kelly
A portrait of Donna Mitchell - Variations on a theme
The "Sky Dream Ultimate" plug-in from Wilkington-Smythe
There's a 3D object on this page and why you can't see it
Post-processing: Going from good to great
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The Panasonic DMC-FZ150's controls
Some thoughts on the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - Part 2
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Some thoughts about my Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - Part 1
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Growing an Italian stone pine tree
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