Notes from The Farmer’s Daughter – A tree that has people stopping in their tracks!

There is a tree in our front yard that triggers onlookers to do a double-take. I was unaware of what this unique tree had to offer when we first moved in. It wasn’t until I spoke with a neighbour that I was informed of what I could expect as this unassuming tree matured.

As the tree changes with the season, it seems to provide its own decorations fitting for at least the spring, summer and fall months.
In the spring, beautiful fragrant blossoms cover the tree, a sight and smell that is fresh and inviting with a tropical vibe in all its simplicity. Those walking past have been known to stop and politely ask me for the name of this beauty so they can search out one in the local nurseries.

The blossoms look like clusters of bell-shaped azaleas with flecks of pink. The tree is a perfect addition to pollinator gardens since the bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds love them. When in full bloom, the tree takes on an almost exotic look and is sure to impress.
The bold heart-shaped leaves do not disappoint from spring to fall. At ten inches long and almost eight inches wide, the leaves provide a shady reprieve where needed. A quick-growing tree with little required maintenance makes it an excellent choice for any property with room for it.

Another exciting surprise you will notice over the summer months is the long seed pods that resemble extremely long green beans growing amongst the foliage. These pods or “beans” take centre stage right around Halloween when the leaves drop to the ground. The tree then takes on an almost creepy look with what you might describe to the young visitors looking for a fright as snakes hanging from the branches. These will eventually drop to the ground in time, leaving the deciduous tree bare for the winter months.

But low and behold, the Catalpa tree will once again spring to life with gorgeous blossoms come late May and early June. If you decide to search for this attractive tree to plant for a conversation piece at your property, be sure to ask for the Northern Catalpa, as it is the hardier option for our climate here in Ontario. You won’t be disappointed, and neither will the pollinators in your neighbourhood.

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