Happening Now in the Garden:
May 30, 2010

by Eric Shalit | May 30th, 2010

Paulownia tomentosa (Empress Tree) looking very much like a lilac on steroids. I bought this bareroot — pretty much a stick of wood. It grew 8-10 feet tall the first season, with ginormous heart-shaped leaves. Through its second year it looked like a sunflower plant on steroids. It quickly grew to near its current 25 ft. tall full size in about 3 years. 15 years later, its growth has slowed to the point of being barely noticeable and the leaves are about 1/4 their first-year size. Introduced to the US from China and Japan, where it was prized. The genus is named in honor of a Russian princess, Anna Paulownia, daughter of Czar Paul I. 'Tomentosa' refers to the hairy or tomentose leaves. Perhaps the princess was also hairy or tomentose?

Looking out a window at an enormous tree Rhododendron. I really should know the name of this wonderful rhododendron.

I came across this blue blackberry leaf yesterday while on a bike ride. I think it may be some kind of hobo code.

Bird on a wire. These hummingbirds are becoming such a nuisance.

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