Country Corner

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Many thanks to Callum Herd for this week’s feature.

Callum writes:

“I moved into my current house about 12 years ago and was interested to find out the name of a tree that was growing in the garden with unusual shaped leaves.

“I was later informed that it was a tulip tree and that it didn’t flower until it was around 15 years old!

“Since I thought that it must have been around five years old when I moved in I have been looking for it to break into bloom for the last few years.

“Imagine my surprise when during a casual glance at the tree I spotted what looked like a flower.

“I ran into the house and armed with binoculars, I indeed confirmed that it was a flower...I was delighted!!

“A full review of the tree with the binoculars revealed one more flower and three buds! Which I have to say was most disappointing.

“Is it usual that this tree starts by producing only a few flowers and then builds up to full bloom after a few years?

“Have I got to wait several more years? I saw a tulip tree in Kew Gardens a couple of years ago and it looked great.

“To be fair the tree has got a good autumn leaf colour but going by the name you expect it to be the flowers that you would remember it by!

“I attach a photo of one of the two flowers on my tree and after the lengthy wait I’ve had, it is a definitely a collectors item!”

Well Callum, I’m not sure I can help much here! To be honest I always thought this garden exotic was named after the shape of its leafs.

This is the first time I have seen reference to it’s flowers.

I have of course seen a few examples in various settings,but have never noticed flowers.

My suspicion is this ornamental tree is grown for the unusual shape of it’s leafs and for autumn colour.

I also understand it onlly flowers sparsley and usually in the crown where the flowers are too high to be noticed.

For sure I will now pay more attention when I come across this native of the eastern USA.

In fact I will take a leaf out of your book Callum, and check the crown with my binoculars. Maybe I will be lucky and get to see for myself these unusual flowers.