Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Chitalpa Tree

I am on a roll! 2nd post this week!  

In all fairness, I actually started this post with pictures back in OCTOBER.  Not sure what happened, but I found it sitting in my drafts and so here I am 9 months later, finally posting it! 

It seems appropriate to post about our Chitalpa tree now since I just snapped some new pictures of this beautiful tree which stands in our back yard.  It took us three years to remember how to pronounce it.  [Kih-tal-pa].  We called it all sorts of combinations of these sounds...Kiptalpa, Kiltapa...but I think we finally have it down now.

In late June it blooms with these beautiful white flowers.  It lasts for about a week before they start falling to the ground and our yard looks like it is covered in popcorn.

I love all the branches too!  Makes me want to be 10 years old again to climb up there and hang out on one of those branches reading a book. 

Or making weird bird calls to make the neighbors wonder...

Or whatever it is 10 year olds do...

I was a weird kid.  So I've been told. 


It is such a cool looking tree and makes such a statement.  Our first spring here in 2008, we were concerned the tree was dead because it didn't bud along with the rest of the trees.  We noticed it had woodpecker holes in it and even caught the little bugger pecking a few times that first spring.  We thought he had killed it!  Fortunately, we haven't seen him since!

But then it budded and we learned from several people familiar with the Chitalpa tree, that it is always a late bloomer.

Funny, that's the first time I've used the phrase "late bloomer" and actually meant it literally!

This was one of the first pictures we took of it our first spring.  This was taken from the other side as the rest of these pictures.  It's interesting for me to look at these pictures, because our place looks so different!  That little yellow playhouse in the background was only there for a few months because the old owners came to pick it up shortly after we moved in.  That huge ugly bushy thing on the left was a lilac bush that we cut down nearly a year and a half ago.  I LOVE lilacs, but that bush was only beautiful for about 10 days out of the year and the rest of the time it looked like the singing bush in The Three Amigos.  Obscure reference, I know, but it seems like most fitting description.  Once we took the lilac bush down, that's where I put in that little patch of perennials lined with wine bottles.  The jury is still out on how permanent that little creative landscaping place will be, but it is a good conversation piece for now. 

You might also remember seeing the Chitalpa tree in some of my older posts, like this one back in February 2010 where I posted these pictures.

Tell me these pictures are not such a true representation of Minnesota and our seasons?  Amazing what a difference 6 months can make that we can go from beautifully blooming covered in white blossoms, to beautifully dormant covered in snow.

And then of course there is autumn somewhere in between, where it looks like this...

I took this I think in early October, when the leaves were just starting to turn.  The colors don't get quite as vibrant on the Chitalpa as they do on other trees, but the foliage is beautiful nonetheless.

I took all of these tree pictures standing on our deck.  I can't imagine what our view would be without it.  Or where the dogs would go for shade.  Or where we would sit to enjoy a glass of wine outside after a long day. 

Here is one other picture I took standing on our deck just the other day, except I was facing southeast, rather that straight south where the tree stands.  I had just gotten home from work when a huge, gusty winds storm passed through, quickly followed by blue skies and sun.

A rainbow! 

If only we didn't have those telephone wires and birds there to clutter up this picture.