Confessions of a Nature Boy

Catalpa trees
Catalpa trees

I run with the wind sprites and cavort with the garden fairies. I admit it. I have even been known to hug a tree, both for my sake and when I can see the tree needs it.

I am also a dedicated Catalpa whisperer. I love the Catalpa tree. Considering it is such a perfect tree for my Zone 4 garden of Minneapolis, it is also so wonderfully tropical. The enormous ace of spade leaves are a little tropical and a bit pre-historic. The elegantly hanging seedpods are like nature’s Christmas tree ornaments. The orchid-like, fragrant flowers that appear en masse’ in mid to late June are heaven scent. It has an upright growth habit, making it ideal for small city lots and even though mine has never been tested, they have been reported to be quite storm resistant. When tornadoes whipped through southern Minnesota seven or so years ago, the Catalpa was listed as a perfect replacement tree. Oh, and they re-seed prolifically.

Which prompted my Catalpa project. Now, I certainly don’t advocate the overplanting of a particular species (think Elms), but I do think they have their place in many a Minnesota yard.

The above photo captures two skinny little fellows, transplanted from my yard, awaiting pick-up by a fellow Catalpa lover. They had been wilting a bit from stress, but this morning when they were doing so well, as if they picked themselves up by the bootstraps and put on their best face for their new owner.

They were excited to be going to their new home, like an adopted puppy from the pound. I was a little melancholy to see them go.

If you live in south Minneapolis and would like a Catalpa seedling, let me know.


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