My orchid tree (Bauhinia variegata) is one of my most cherished blooming plants. Two years ago I lost my beautiful mature orchid tree when my neighbors bur oak fell, uprooting or crushing everything around it. I grieved for the old oak as much as for my orchid tree, pyracantha and the three palm trees that died in the accident.
Aside from the spectacular flush of flowers that covered the tree in April, one of my favorite things about it was the long seed pods that followed the blooms. One summer day when the temperature had nudged past 100 degrees, my husband, son and I were sitting under the orchid tree enjoying its shade. Suddenly a sound like firecrackers burst above our heads. The seed pods were exploding! Seeds flew for yards. We covered our heads, but the surprise delighted us.
Happily, many new trees grew up from the scattered seeds. Most of them had to be removed, but one seedling popped up right where the old tree had been. Hurricane Ike nearly flattened the young tree, but the remaining trunk of the old orchid tree offered its support. The new tree has a distinct curve, but this spring it showed its first flowers.
As much as I love my particular orchid tree, I have grown envious of one in my neighbor’s yard. It must be a different variety because it blooms year-round. I want one. I may go shopping to look for one here.