Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jack is going to be a poppa

Well technically a foster parent.

First I have to explain about Jack. The trees in this picture are called Paulownia trees. We planted them in 2004 or 2005 and they were only a few feet tall. Now they're between 20 and 30 feet tall.

Trouble was, we forgot the name of them (until we went looking). People would ask and we would explain that they were Jack and the Beanstalk trees because of their fast growth.

The trees are very hardy and grow quickly. But cold weather is not kind to them. The first winter, the leaves curled up and hung on to the tree. They were a very ugly brown and just looked awful. My son commented how it would look better if we took all the leaves off, but we said no. The next night, temperatures dropped again. The following morning all the leaves were gone and we were left with Jack sticks instead of Jack trees. We accused him of stripping the tree. He denied it. Yeah right. Typical kid. However, in his defense, the following winter we witnessed the tree's leaves fall off after a freeze and another stripped tree. We've apologized to Adam several times.

In this picture, you can see the size of the leaves. Wikipedia says the leaves are 15-40cm. That's from 6 to 15 inches across. Needless to say, visitors to my deck are impressed.

The large leaves generate a lot of discussion, that's when we get to explain about Jack and the Beanstalk. I'm still looking for the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Now to Jack's parenthood. Last night while cooking on my grill, I noticed a nest in the tree. We had seen birds flying in and out, and now it looks like Jack is providing them a house. I think Jack is going to be a proud poppa. He will provide his adopted family with a lot of shade. Also, there are numerous bugs that crawl over his leaves (the small bush between the Jack tree is for butterflies, their larva play in his canopy). They will provide food for the growing nestlings.

From what we've read, Paulownia trees live about 80-100 years. We have many future families to look forward to.


Ashley Beth said...

OK. I am a little confused. There are 2 trees there and only one name. So who is Jack? Unless, one is Jack and the other is The Beanstalk.

John said...

"We planted them in 2004 or 2005 and they were only a few feet tall. Now they're between 20 and 30 feet tall."

What do you feed them? Plant steroids?

Randy said...

These are fast growing plants> no steroids required! They should still be eligible for the plant olympics in China this summer. They should feel close to home, the plant is native to Japan.

I thought I put this in yesterday, but it must've gotten lost. I like the idea of Jack and The Beanstalk for names. But I have a better one. We need a mother figure to balance out our backyard family, how about Jack & Jill?