When I first got this tree, it was a mere foot high, and that included the root system! Yes, I got it bare root from the Arbor day Foundation along with several other trees to fill Tommy’s “arboretum”.
I saw the “string bean” tree for the first time when we moved to Pennsylvania. I called them this because of their long seed pods that looked, obviously, like string beans. Catalpa is the real name, however, named by the Delaware Indians who used to eat the seed pods.
I had never seen Catalpas before, but they grew all along the Delaware River which runs down toward Philadelphia. They have beautiful, large heart-shaped leaves and extraordinary flowers, both fragrant and lovely to look at. They look like orchids, I think and smell like heaven, my kind of heaven, anyway.
So, I plants two Catalpa trees in the arboretum and there they stood looking like 10 inch long twigs sticking out of the vast lawn amongst other 1-2 foot tall twigs. I wondered if any of them would make it through the winter. To make matters worse, the deer nibbled them down to the root. Oh, but I hated the deer for that! I thought, surely the trees would never recover such brutality. What did I know?
The Catalpa, which normally grows rather spindly, branched out nicely due to the coppicing the deers did by eating them. The deer actually did me a favor. Go figure! They are lovely sprawling trees now some 35-40 feet high and my ultimate favorite in the yard.