Sunday, November 18, 2007
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.)