Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Catalpa A-Bloomin'

Surely the Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) isn't in favor with any landscaper nowadays but when it is in bloom, it is a tree-like version of an orchid. Each flower (2" or so in diameter) is pure white with throats of yellow and lavendar. This year, our two trees at the streetside of the property, have recovered from the trimmers who liberated the power lines a few years ago. The southern-most tree is alive with flowers; the northern tree is sparse.

A wider view shows Pinehaven buried behind the backdrop of catalpas. The limbs hang almost to the ground, heavy with flowers. Soon enough the flowers will be replaced with long beans giving the tree its common name of "Cigartree". I remember my grandfather collecting worms from catalpas when he went fishing and we've had passerbys ask to glean this same harvest. I like the trees, once the blooms have passed, for their dinner plate-sized, heart-shaped leaves. These are bold trees, not sissy maples! They're not afraid to say "profuse" and mean it.