Friday, June 5, 2015

Trees and Transition

When I moved into my house 33 years ago, there were two very large box elder trees in my back yard. I appreciated the shade, but before long there was a problem--box elder bugs. I soon learned that the two trees differed in that one was male, and one was female, and the seeds of the female attracted these pests. They did not appear to do damage to the tree, but as Wikipedia explains, "their congregation habits and excreta can annoy people." Yes, indeed, excreta can be annoying!

In the fall of the year they would swarm and cover the side of my house and Sunny's house next door. Sunny, a charming 90 something inveterate gardener, volunteered to pay to have the tree removed, but winter came, the bugs disappeared, and I forgot about them. That is until Easter Sunday when sitting around the dinner table with all my family, the bugs (who evidently had been hibernating in the cellar) woke up and started flying all over the room. This was not the way I intended to celebrate the resurrection!

OK, I gave in. The yard, after all, was really too small for two large trees, so I had the female tree removed. No more bugs. Well, no more box elder bugs. It wasn't long before I discovered that the other tree was infested with carpenter ants. Removing it became an issue of safety. So now I had a bare yard with no shade.

At Mulak's Nursery, Bonnie suggested a tulip tree would grow quickly and provide good shade, and soon the sapling was taking root in my yard.

She was right. It grew quickly, and the yard soon was shaded once more, and every spring it produces yellow "tulips." These were here this morning. I learned--once again from Wikipedia, source of all information--that the tree is related to the magnolia, and I can see the resemblance.

Today the tree towers above most of the others around. It took a beating in the October storm of 2011, yet it continues to stand and leaf and flower. 

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