One of the good things about working from home is that I get to spend the day looking out my study at my tulip poplar (liriodendron tulipifera). It’s a historic tree – we got it as a sapling through Historic Trees of America from a tree at Franklin Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park, New York in 2001 after touring the home and learning it was FDR’s favorite tree.
It was a favorite of our founding fathers as well, with Washington and Jefferson putting it in places of honor at Mount Vernon and Monticello. Jefferson’s retreat at Poplar Forest outside Lynchburg, Virginia also has them – here’s a picture of some of the old bulls still around – and they are still replanted at the site. (The plastic sheeting is covering archaeological excavations of the original circular drive).
Ours spent three years as a 3’ tall sapling in our back yard on South Washington before we transplanted it to our new home on Harris Lake Road in 2004. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that it was planted so it’s precisely in the middle of the center French door as I sit at my desk. Surely I’m not that compulsive-retentive. But the house – Poplar Hill – was actually named for it, so maybe so.
It is slower growing than the red maple to its right that I planted in 2002, but it’s probably 30 feet now. Last week was the first time I’ve seen it blossom and it certainly looks like its cousin at Springwood’s (blossom close-up). The blossoms are high in the tree, and this is the first year I knew where to look (from upstairs) and when. No, I didn’t site my bathroom so it overlooks it. That is absolutely just a coincidence.