The Reason I’m Catalpa Bound


Catalpa flower

Medium sized Catalpa trees next to the polluted pond near the Quaker Oats plant on the Cedar River trail are in bloom in early June.

As you know, blog pals, my garden was the site of an unfortunate tragedy when some mist from my weed spray killed my Catalpa tree and injured the backup Catalpa in a nearby garden.

Well, my wife agrees with what I suspect some of my sisters might say—serves me right for spraying for weeds. I suppose.

I’m still hopeful the backup Catalpa might recover, and if not, I have to gather seeds next January or so and try to sprout them.

That’s a dicey undertaking. I tried to sprout something like 50 Catalpa seeds last year, got 4 to germinate and only 2 trees survived to be planted outdoors.

So, I’ll lose 2 years of Catalpa growth, and maybe more if I don’t have a good sprouting season.

Why go to all the bother of a tree I wasn’t even that aware of until a few years ago when I noticed one in our neighborhood?

See the photos, which I snapped along the Cedar River Trail today. These, my friends, are Catalpa in flower. There aren’t a lot of trees in flower right now—we’re well past all apple and redbud blossoms—so these flowers are a nice early summer bloom before the roses and daylily and coneflowers really kick in. And I love the heart-shaped leaves.

David Doerge, one of my colleagues at MMU, notes that in his young days Catalpa were known as “cigar trees.” The cute flowers turn into very large seed pods that some, I suppose, might consider unsightly or messy when they burst open and then fall. But, heck, they’re not walnuts.

As for me, I’m Catalpa captivated. I’m determined to get one going in my yard. And, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be enjoying some pretty flowers and giant heart leaves in my retirement.

Catalpa flower

Closer up view of Catalpa flower.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Reason I’m Catalpa Bound

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