Monday, August 17, 2009

Memories of a Mimosa Tree

A healthy Mimosa tree with several trunks and forks.

The beans appear in late summer and early fall.

The pink flowers attract butterflies and humming birds during the summer. Fern-like foliage also closes up and "sleeps" in the evening.

I remember the pink flowers of the Mimosa tree (Silk tree) being sticky and pink like the texture and color of cotton candy. These trees served many purposes for me during my childhood. I would climb their smooth branches and trunks before building forts under them. The forts would end up having more grandaddy long-legs spiders protected behind their four walls than people. Tree foliage and fall beans provided tons of play opportunities. However, admitting to having played "restaurant" with the tree's leaves and beans sounds less adventurous than having built a fort at the base of the trunk. The small individual leaves of the fern-like fronds would also be stripped off and used as confetti. I recall also using the beans as currency for a made-up primitive or post apocalyptic world - it was the 1980s during the Cold War, after all.

How did all of this memory jogging come about? I was driving through Charlestown, Massachusetts and saw a very large example on Monday. I did not know they could thrive this far north. But we seem to be on the edge of a favorable growing zone since we are on the sea coast and have slightly less harsh winters. My garden may be the proud owner of one of these memory laden trees someday.

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