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Your catalpa tree story brought back some happy childhood memories, as most of your stories do. I thank you for that.
In the village where I was born and raised, we had one very large catalpa tree. I loved the gorgeous flowers and the large bean pods. It never occurred to me that the tree was messy. I loved the shady haven it created on a hot summer's day. When it was in bloom I would gather the flowers that had fallen and take them home to float in a clear, globe-shaped bowl. As I recall, they didn't last very long, but they were so beautiful, I didn't really care if I had to replace them often. There were always more to pick up another day.
When we love a plant, it doesn't matter if it is messy.
Hello Larry. I'm glad you had a catalpa to enjoy, too. I don't remember putting its blooms in water, but I remember sometimes placing large blooms of anything in the running water of the creek that ran beside my house. I had visions of another little girl somewhere far away finding that bloom. I even started writing notes and placing them on the flowers just in case anybody wanted to know where the flowers were coming from.
Me either. I spent the summers of my childhood in the creeks, woods, and pastures north of town. I'd build whole towns on the sandy banks of the larger creek and pick flowers and other plant parts to decorate them.
Here in Peoria IL (Z-5) there are plenty of catalpa trees especially in the older parts of town. I remember several large catalpas that grew on my grandparent's street. As kids we loved pretending we were smoking the "cigars". The thing that sticks with me most though is the smell of the flowers. Not really sweet but very pungent. I still love that aroma today and it immediately takes me back to grandpa and grandma's house.
What a lovely name for a street. That's the thing I like about my tiny town, all the streets are named for trees. Mine is Laurel, running close by are Linden, Hickory and Juniper. I like that.
Thanks for reading the article, great to hear from you.
Funny how scents can do that, isn't it, Icebrg? It happens to me with wisteria and magnolias. Wisteria takes me right back to one grandmother's house and magnolias take me to the other.
I have never seen a Catalpa tree that I know of, but have read about them. There may not be many in the area of the central coast of California, where I grew up. I would love to have one here on our back lot, where we could run rain water to it during the Monsoons we get every July.
My favorite tree that brings back memories is the Ponderosa (Pinus ponderosa). They are called yellow pine in the South. When mature (up to 200' tall), the thick bark has reddish-orange plates with black lining the crevasses, where the bark looks like it is split. When wet after a storm, they light up the forest.
As always Sharon, you light up our hearts with memories! Thank you.