|Pippin with Liriodendron|
Yesterday I talked with the dental hygienist Joan about hikes and trees and flowers. She asked, “Are you a plant person? Did you see the saucer magnolia trees across the street?” Oh, yes, I had seen those lovelies, smallish ones with their flowers opening so brightly pink.
“I have my camera and want to take their picture when I leave,” I said. But later with all my strolling about and photo-shooting I never got a good one of those Chinese Magnolias that people often mistakenly call Tulip Trees.
I told my friend when she took the pointy tools out of my mouth, “I had a real Tulip Tree in my yard once so I know that those are not really that.” She misunderstood, and said, “Oh, but tulip trees are magnolias.”
I explained that what I was talking about was nothing like what she was talking about, and promised to send her information when I got home. I also sent her this photo of Pippin as a young girl enjoying the blossoms and leaves of our tree, which we had planted a few years previous.
It was a fast grower and a joy to have around, shading the play fort and adding grace to the landscape. Here it is in the 80’s on the right behind the children.
|Yard with Tulip Tree|
But in researching the botanical name of our Tulip Tree, I discovered that is IS a member of the magnolia family (but it is not what Joan thought). Oh, my — crazy how confusing things get when humans try to classify the world formally and informally all at the same time.
In 2011 I planted tulip bulbs in the front yard (here where we have no trees with that name), and had a glorious display last spring. It looked as though they weren’t going to come up a second time; often tulips don’t last, in our climate, because it’s too warm and wet. This winter was cold and drier, and what do you know, there are little tulip leaves bravely poking through now. Perhaps in a month or so I’ll have another kind of tulip flower to write about.