Sunday, November 18, 2007

Here come the Bushtits!

My favorite Portland tree produces this
This afternoon the bushtits flew in as they're like to do: in mass. Even in the rain. They descend out of nowhere and they flit from shrub to vine to tree. And this time of year they're in love with my favorite Portland tree, as are many other birds right now. The Harlequin Glory Bower Clerodendrum trichotomum, known as the peanut tree to us, because its leaves smell like peanut butter. The photo above is what it's currently covered in, those crazy turquoise berries surrounded by fushia petals. I know it doesn't look real, but it is. Isn't it crazy beautiful?

A long time ago we lived in a rental house in Sellwood. And this tree grew there, right outside the living room window. I gardened there, and carefully planted around the tree. We loved the tree. One Monday morning after a weekend away, I opened the living room blinds and discovered the tree had been cut down, and the stump that was left had been crossed several times with a chainsaw. Whoever had removed my favorite tree had worked to make sure it wouldn't grow back. I was devastated. I cried. Upon visiting the landlord, she said the guy she had hired must have cut down the wrong tree. And so he had. We vowed to have one of these trees one day in a house of our own, and so it was a sign that we had found the right house when we came upon this house, and in the back side yard, a small baby Clerodendrum was growing. We ended up moving it that first year, and today, it's the star of the garden. 25-30 feet tall, it's grown larger than we had thought, but it's still a superstar.

The bushtits approve, too. (I know you want to say bushtit out loud. Go on. Say it. It's a great name, isn't it? Bushtit. Bushtit. Bushtit.)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

And here I thought you meant these.

Rozanne said...

Yay, you did it.

But I thought it was spelled bush tit. Two words. Anyway, I'm glad you're making everyone say it out loud.

What a sad story about the tree in Sellwood. Heartbreaking, really. How could the arborist make a mistake about that? Did they cheap out and just hire any old joe to do the cutting. What a shame.

Anyway, you've more than made up for it. Great photo, too. Lensbaby?

SassyFemme said...

You were just biding your time to be able to write a blog entry about bushtits! ;)

The flowers on that tree are amazing! Would love to see a shot of the whole tree.

Syd said...

I was expecting a political rant. This was much better. :) Pretty.

Alan Bluehole said...

We had a pouchnest of bushtits at our old house. It was so cool: a squirmy sack of baby birds. And it was low enough that I could have picked it off the tree if I were mean.

BUSHTITS!

patti_cake said...

Yes I am saying "bushtit" over and over under my breath. I hope my office isn't bugged! LOL

I love that tree it is just gorgeous!

melissa lion said...

So beautiful!

Mark H said...

That IS a gorgeous tree, and I MUST have one by next spring! I'd never seen or heard of it. We've BEEN planting berry type things (elderberries, currents) specifically to draw in Tanagers & Bushtits because WE love 'em too. Once again, that photo was exquisite.

witchtrivets said...

great shot! I have been obsessed with Clerodendrum ever since I came across one in front of a house on Belmont. They happened to have left the tag on and I walked right into the yard to read it. Sadly, this is too big for anywhere in my yard. Lucky you.

bemused said...

When the bushtits swoop into my garden, cheerily flitting about, I can't help but smile. Seriously, I've tried but I can't keep the smile from my face (and why would I want to, anyway). Winter may mean gray, rainy days but it also means the return of these darling bitty birds - they're a silver lining.

My jaw dropped as I read about the chainsawing of your Clerodendron. I read it several times - I was in shock, how could someone do that?! I'm glad you have one in your own garden but oh, my heart ached for the rude shock you experienced.

purpletwinkie said...

You had me at Bushtit.