Though tree-like in size and growth, catalpas (or catawbas) are flowering plants of the trumpet vine family, and are native to warm temperate regions of North America. So how did they get to Wisconsin? According to Wikipedia, they "have been widely planted outside their natural ranges as ornamental trees for their showy flowers and attractive shape". (Lucky for me!)
Catalpa blossoms are frilly and feminine in the extreme, often mounded on the leaves like dancers' skirts tossed down in a frothy pile.
Many of the leaves are larger than my hand - which somehow adds to the fairy-tale quality of this enchantingly alien plant.
While the foliage of other trees darkens and grows heavy with summer, the catalpa retains its bright fresh green until autumn...
...and forms a most welcome part of the view from the porch where I sit and eat my breakfast.
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