A Tree Quest

Seven years ago this month I took Amtrack’s Sunset Limited train from New Orleans to Los Angeles for the birth of our granddaughter, Maggie Rose.  As the train pulled in to LA I saw several beautiful lavender flowering trees.  What were they?  Certainly not Crepe Myrtles – those grow here, and I know them well.  This (new to me) tree was the dimensions of a young oak or maple – full girth and height.

As we waited for Maggie’s birth, DD and DSIL showed me the attractions of LA, including the la Brea tar pits.  There, at the edge of the parking lot, was a whole row of lavender flowering trees.  DSIL is an MIT-educated rocket scientist.  Identification of west coast flora is not his specialty.  DD grew up, well, most places except the west coast.  She’d not seen them before, either.

Fast forward to our Disney World vacation this month.  As we entered Epcot, I spied two rows of lavender flowering tree framing Spaceship Earth (the big silver ball).  That’s the tree!  That’s the tree I saw on Maggie’s birth trip!  I asked the ticket takers “What’s the name of that tree?”  They admired it with me, but didn’t know.

We asked the guest relations cast member who was passing out schedules near the entrance.  He didn’t know, admired the tree with me, and directed me to a gardening pavilion.  Wonderful!  Terrible – it was only open on weekends.  Boo!

Those of you who know the determination of this knitter know the quest didn’t end there.  After all, the Annual International Garden Show at Epcot was in progress:  someone must know!  We inquired at the master gardener’s kiosk near the dancing fountain.  The lady staffing it was nice, admired the trees with me (by now, I was showing people close-up photos on my digital camera), and said she didn’t know.  le sigh!  But, if we could come back before they closed at 5 pm, she would find someone who knew.  Alas, it got busy, and we were a long walk away from the kiosk at 5 pm.

The next day we returned to Epcot I was determined to try again.  We found a different lady staffing the master gardener’s kiosk.  Picture shown, admired, not recognized…you know the drill.  Yet, as we were exchanging regrets, another lady arrived.  She was a horticulturalist from one of the Florida Universities, and she knew right away the tree I’d been seeking.  “It’s a Jacaranda, the Mimosa variety.”

Yippee!  I had visions of lavender flowers on my lakeshore.  Alas, we live about a zone and a half too far North for the Jacaranda.  At least my quest had been successful.

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4 Comments

  1. AlisonH said,

    May 26, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I was sitting here racking my brain going, I KNOW the name, just I can’t THINK of it! Aren’t they gorgeous? We have some good specimens in my neighborhood, and when we moved here I had never seen such a thing before.

  2. Marsha said,

    May 27, 2009 at 6:58 am

    At least you NOW know what it is!! 🙂

  3. Debby said,

    May 27, 2009 at 7:44 am

    When I saw your photo I remembered the lovely trees a friend from Australia had photographed for me, and it turns out that they are one and the same, the jacaranda. I’ve never seen them in person, but I hope to one day. They are so pretty!

    I envy your crepe myrtles. Where I live it is even too cold for *those*. Sigh.

  4. Knitnana said,

    May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am

    What a beautiful tree! I’d not seen one before…and such a shame that you can’t grow it.
    😦
    We have the purple crepe myrtle around here…I love it!
    (((hugs)))


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