I have a tree in my back garden at Croftfoot, High Blantyre which I believe is quite unique for Blantyre.
The Catalpa tree is normally native to parts of America and the Caribbean and is not really a tree accustomed for Scotland. “Catalpa” is the American Indian word for “tree”. Preferring warm climates, it is astonishing this tree is thriving in Scotland, but I think is due to the particularly sunny, open location it receives daily, away from others. It shouldn’t really be in Scotland….however, one grows in my back garden as pictured here in August 2015. The tree is notoriously fast growing, this one pictured not even 20 years. They can grow to double that size up to just over 40 feet (which worries me slightly) as this is already quite close to the School Lane wall, my ornamental walls and my home.
The tree is characterised by its large bright green leaves, some individuals leaves being a foot long! In warmer climates the leaves and flowers would last for some time, but here in Scotland, the tree is completely bare until the first week in June, when the buds open out and within a fortnight, produce this full display! In August, the tree has an abundance of flowers, a sure sign that the leaves are about to fall. When they do at the end of September, its quite the cleanup operation and they fill many bin bags. Such large leaves make the tree ideal for shade, but not so great for any flowers or plants below the canopy.
The tree is now so large, it is visible from the entrance to Kirkton Park, High Blantyre at Schoolhouse Lane and in the 3 short years I have been at this home, has grown around 6 foot in height and about the same outwards. It’s one I’ll need to keep an eye on, but remains a favourite, being a beautiful addition to my garden. I have to say beyond a doubt, it is my favourite (young) tree in Blantyre.
You can see a 2 minute short video of this tree here: