Tulip bulbs just do not thrive in my garden. However, I can enjoy similar blooms in spring thanks to the Liriodendron trees, which are actually related to the magnolias. Their cup shaped flowers have led to the common name of Tulip Tree.
Liriodendrons are notoriously slow to flower, but mine have started. I planted two about 15 years ago. The variegated one I’m pictured digging a hole for replaced a giant pine tree, which gave unwanted shade to the garden. You can see the stacks of pine wood on the left. One thing to remember is that liriodendrons don’t like dry soil. I guess that’s why they do so well in the rainy Blue Mountains, where I live.
Here is that same tree, photographed in a Mountain mist last year. Its about 7 metres tall now.
In spring the Satin Bowerbirds sit snacking on the new leaves. I used to think they would strip the trees, but remarkably they never cause any discernable damage. And as the weeks go by the beautiful buds swell on the ends on the upper branches. The wattle birds start to visit. Note the variegated leaves.
Its not until November that the flowers are in full bloom. Worth waiting for though
The canopy provides great shade in mid summer, for smaller plants……. and birds.
It is in autumn that the tulip trees’ foliage really puts on a show. The non variegated one is more spectacular I think. It has huge leaves, which turn as golden as butter.
Even the back of the leaf is lovely, especially when covered in diamonds of dew .
The large leaves transform paths and form bright carpets.
Eventually there is a strong wind and remaining leaves disappear in a flurry. Winter is nigh.
I just love these trees. They provide shade, shelter, nectar and seeds for the birds, plus untold pleasure to me.
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