Saturday 11 July 2009


The catalpas are in full bloom in London now. In the right setting this is a fine tree, in a slightly showy and exotic way, with its huge leaves and great trusses of white blossom, followed by long hanging pods (hence its other name, the Indian bean tree). 'Catalpa' is a fine musical word too - put to good use in Yeats's The New Faces. The catalpa he had in mind was in Lady Gergory's garden at Coole. She was very fond of it, and much miffed when George Moore referred to it as a 'weeping ash'. You can always rely on a 'realist' to get things wrong...

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