Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes Evil Is Pretty

I REALLY loathe catalpa trees. They drop these long seed pods all over my yard and despite my best efforts to clean them all up before they can release their devil spawn, I pull thousands of catalpa babies out of my garden every year.  They're not even easy to pull.  If hand pulled, their bark pulls off like a glove and the trunks and roots remain.  I have to dig them out or pull them with pliers.

I lived in a Victorian era neighborhood and the Victorians really loved the catalpa. About 100 years ago, there was some sort of tree disease that spread through the neighborhood, killing many of the trees.  The neighbors living here at the time replaced the trees with catalpas. Now we have hundreds of mature catalpa trees all over our neighborhood, including my neighbor's backyard.

I hate to admit this, but I can see why the Victorians were so enamored with catalpa tress. I can only see their point of view for about two weeks a year when the catalpa are in bloom. This week, when I step out into my backyard, a sweet fragrance envelopes me.  I look up at the catalpa tree and see these orchid-like flowers and I look across my yard and see it blanketed with fallen flowers. 

Soon, however, the tree will form these long fruits that look like seed pods.  Then the fruits will burst open and their magical flying seeds will drift all over the neighborhood. The dried up fruits will litter my back yard. How can something so pretty be so invasive and messy?

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