Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

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mimosa trees--loving the invaders

I love to see the mimosa tree (I tried to post a link, but the mimosa photo I found at www.invasive.org transmuted into an odd tree beetle by the time I'd linked it) in Spring. The mimosa is a curious ornamental tree. They have gorgeous pink blossoms, and branches filled with cute green, almost fern-like leaves. The problem is that this plant I really fancy is politically incorrect. Mimosa trees *don't belong here*. They come from Iran or Japan or Australia or other places which are not north Texas.

In our area, hosts of weekend morning AM radio garden shows have an importance roughly equal to that of priests in chic arcane faiths or authors of really hip and fashionably obscure 'zines. The patter is warm and familiar ("Ma'am, they sold you THAT? That doesn't grow here, that grows in CANADA! That'll DIE here! Take that right back to Home Depot and get yourself a nice Yaupon Holly. Y'all have a good weekend, now", or "Q. I just moved here from New Jersey and bought my first home. Now the tree leaves are all dying". A: "Ma'am, it's September, and in Fall, the leaves...."). The books of holy garden text written by these spirit guides have no kind words for mimosas. Howard Garrett, the Dirt Doctor, frankly terms them a "junk tree". Neil Sperry, the "Texas gardener" can't wait for them to die off.

Apparently, mimosas are short-lived in our climate, beset by ailments and pests unique to mimosas, and generally regarded as a misplaced fad. Their blossoms and car paint do not interact perfectly with one another. On the other hand, another invasive plant, the crepe myrtle tree from China, is seen as a beneficial plant, to be planted wherever an ornamental tree might fit. It comes in all sorts of cool leaf colors, and blooms virtually all summer long A nearby town, McKinney has pledged to plant 100,000 of them. Immigrants with marketable skills always get the better end of the stick.

I am "down with" the native plant preservationists. Here in north Texas, we have wonderful natives, and our curious "too hot and dry in summer and a couple of hard freezes in winter and by the way, the soil is a really harsh red clay" growing areas provide sustenance for only a limited number of plants favored in other places, anyway. But I say Save the Mimosa Trees. The mimosa to me is dozens of front yards during my small town boyhood. The mimosa tree is pink blooms, and huge long seed pods. The mimosa is our little oasis of exotica. Sure, it lives fast, and dies young. But when I see those pink blooms in Spring, it's as if a mimosa has eternal life.
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