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Leaf of the Day: Golden Rain Tree Pod

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Saturday 20 September 2008

Leaf of the Day: Golden Rain Tree Pod

The ants were duly repatriated this morning at Leu, but then I met up with Pedro who gave me a couple of the beautiful Bull's Horn acacia thorns, so I guess they may have now been replaced by some bigger and angrier ants. (I wrote about the incredible relationship between the Bull's Horn acacia and its wonderful caretaker ants before here. )

It was lovely to see the garden again after more than 2 weeks. New plants were flowering and some had finished, there was not one sign that the exotic Queen of the Night had ever had even one flower, but the White Bat Flowers were in full bloom and the Champaka still has some heavenly scented blossoms.
I have not mentioned the bamboo before but they are a particular favourite. I love to walk among them on a breezy day, like today. They tower up high and magnificent and the soft tapping of the stems and the rustle of the leaves makes you realise why they inspired so much poetry and painting. At the moment they are losing the protective layers of the stems which are a beautiful shape. I gathered up a few to draw sometime next week I hope. It would have to be another plant for my enormous dream garden.

It's interesting to read the reasons why people like and dislike different trees or plants and this tree, the Golden Rain tree, or Panicled Goldenraintree, Koelreuteria paniculata is another pretty tree with a mixed reception.

Some people have a personal happy memory of the tree, some cannot bear something they can't control, whereas others accept them as living things which cannot always conform to the strictures of our gardens and tidy lives.
We are all as different as gardeners as we are as householders, some need everything to be neat and clipped and tidy and others rejoice in a wild and informal muddle.I particularly like one comment which said quite sensibly, if you don't want the mess of leaves and seeds then don't plant trees.
It is another tree I saw in Santa Fe and makes a very pretty street tree. There are lovely yellow flowers in the spring giving it the "golden rain" name but I particularly like these elegant triangular lantern shaped pods which contain bright hard black seeds and it is not surprising to find it is a Sapindaceae, a relation to the Soapberry tree, the seeds of both trees are used for jewellery.

I realise that although I wrote a little about the Soapberry here I haven't yet drawn either leaf or seed, another one for next week perhaps and then maybe a necklace or two. I wish I had gathered more of these pods now. So far I have not seen one at Leu. The Soapberry has also reminded me that I was looking at the Soap Aloe too the other day. I think I need to do a "useful plants for the bathroom and laundry" piece soon.

Golden Rain Tree Pod

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