“A tree full of orchids”

The Catapla tree is such showy thing when in bloom that is is hard to believe that it is not a native species – this sort of thing is usually imported horticultural folly. Nevertheless, we need have no qualms about having one in our wildlife garden – though it is a shame that whoever planted it here many years before we arrived buried it in a “forest” at the back corner with limited light – this is a tree that needs to stand out in the sun. It’s surprisingly hardy however and where the tips of the branches make it out into the open it puts on quite a show around mid-summer … as someone said, “a tree full of orchids”.

In winter our tree has a secondary purpose – the main trunk has suffered from insect depradation and so the Pileated Woodpeckers and some smaller species find it a good place to grab a snack when there isn’t much else around.  Some years ago a new, secondary trunk started to develop from the base and that seems to be thriving so if we ever have the remove the original there will still be a Catalpa there to enjoy.

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