Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Golden Rain Tree, I've Been Waiting For You!

Our version of fall color
 It's true we don't get the spectacular fall color some folks do.  Our red maples are red in the spring, when the flowers open.  We actually feel guilty when we see red foliage in the fall: it indicates the presence of the Chinese Tallow Tree, an invasive species that now accounts for 23% of the trees in the 8-county Houston area.  (Here's the Houston Regional Forest Report.)

Mature Golden Rain Tree
But I'm in love with another introduced tree that is beautiful in the fall:  The Golden Rain Tree, or Koelreuteria paniculata.  The fast-growing tree is also on some invasive plants lists, and probably I shouldn't love it but I do.  All summer it provides beautiful shade but the real show is in the late summer and early fall.

Golden Rain Tree flowers
The flowers are a bright golden-yellow, and they are carried high above the canopy, in full view of every passerby.  After the tree is fully in bloom, the seed pods form, a bright coral-pink color that is even more spectacular than the flowers.

Golden Rain Tree Seedpods
Golden Rain Trees grow to a height of 30-40 feet tall and are tolerant of a wide variety of soils.  They flower best in full sun.  I love seeing them this time of year.  They do reseed prolifically, but not more than our native red maple does.  I might have to plant one anyway, and do environmental penance somehow later!

All photos in this post: Tom Barrow

No comments:

Post a Comment