I always love the winter blossoming of the fantastic, large blooms on the Tulip Trees throughout town.
When I lived on Halsey St. on the west side of Petaluma, my house was perched on a hill. I could see all the way across the valley of Petaluma.
From my balcony, looking down into many of the gardens in my neighborhood I could see 13 Tulip trees! What a magnificent site!
Characteristically large trees, they are actually magnolias and the pink and white blossomed ones we have in California are officially known as the Alexandrina Saucer Magnolia. These trees are widely known by the common name tulip tree because of their large blossoms that resemble tulips.
Being deciduous, the trees literally lose all of their leaves in winter leaving the branches to stand sleek and naked. As spring approaches these magnificent blossoms come to life and cover the bare branches in a blanket of color. I’ve always been amazed when I turn a corner in Petaluma, as I did just yesterday, and I'm suddenly startled by a tall slender branched tree with these absolutely beautiful large blooms.
The sight stops me in my tracks and makes me smile, or cry... or both at the same time.
For me the first explosion of color from the tulip trees around my neighborhood - my equivalent of Groundhog Day - is the first hint that "Winter Is Leaving." It's time to start clearing out the winter detritus from my yard and begin planning for my next spring garden.