Sunday, June 15, 2014

Black Locust Trees




A short time ago, the black locusts were in such contrast to all around them. The grass was so green, The maples were in bright green leaf. The lilacs were blossoming. And there stood the locusts - bare, stark, autumn-like in the heart of spring. It occurs to me that this is on purpose. They let everything else get all the 'wows' of springtime, when every single day brings something new and remarkable. Then, when the daffodils are gone by, and the lilac blossoms are no more, those creamy white flowers appear which to my mind offer the sweetest smell imaginable.

When I have mentioned locust flowers in my letters, some people have commented that they are like the fragrance of wisteria, the plant oft mentioned in literature. Do locusts get mentioned in fiction? Not in any book I've ever read. And in nonfiction, mostly they are written of as weed trees, springing up everywhere. This is so hard for me to understand. They are beautiful trees in leaf, in flower, and even when they are bare. I grew up with them in my yard, and when Tom and I moved out here, I had to plant black locusts, the greatest gift of my June days.

21 comments:

  1. I like them too. The fragrance is wonderful - a bit like honeysuckle, honey locust as they're sometimes called, I think. My dad used to refer to them as "junk" trees, but I never agreed. We now have only one. Ours bloomed several weeks ago - I guess we're a bit earlier here in PA.
    Mary

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    1. There is a honey locust we planted once at our old house. It is nice, but not the same or as wonderful, methinks, as the black locust. If you go to google images and search each one you can see them. I'm sure you are earlier in PA. Most everywhere is earlier than us!

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  2. We used to hang tire swings off them in my yard. Unfortunately, they didn't have the strongest branches. It does bring back memories though!

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    1. They also get uprooted in fierce windstorms. I think their roots don't go as deep as some trees.

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  3. Yum, I can almost smell them. LOve your header photo too.

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    1. They stayed a long time, filling the air with that fragrance

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  4. They're wonderful...the header shot too...just looks spectacular up there. We are seeing spring flowers this year! Lilacs daffys and all the ones we miss lately are just now in bloom here in Sitka Alaska... Maybe next month they'll have locusts! Tho I haven't seen any trees ... And I do recognize them ...we had them in Oregon yard back when ....

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    1. So happy you are seeing the spring flowers. Wouldn't it be fun for you to do an Edwin Way Teale trip and follow the spring or summer or fall around the country?!

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  5. Well, my husband was raised in Hungary where these trees are beloved and appear in many poems. And I planted in my yard the trees that have a connection to Hungarian literature - Linden (Harsfa), Horse Chestnut (Vad Gestenye), Locust (Acac) and Gingko which is not known in literature but was a much loved tree in my mother in law's childhood garden . Sometimes they are listed as toxic, but Hungarians eat them out of hand when they are blooming and make a kind of fritter with them.. They are American trees and like legumes, they improve the soil by fixing nitrogen in it and that is why they were first brought to Hungary.

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    1. I'm glad they are beloved somewhere!! I've seen Gingkos but not around here. I'll look into all the ones you mentioned. I loved reading this. Thanks.

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  6. I don't know if I know what a locust tree smells like. I wonder if it's like a Linden tree. Our neighborhood has a lot of those and I love their fragrance.

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    1. I don't think it is like a Linden, though I've seen only one L.

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  7. They are beautiful, and to distinguish between "weeds" and other plants is purely artificial anyway. I am not sure I know what black locusts are in German, but if it is the one I think it is, then it is from its blossoms that bees make the most fragrant honey.

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    1. I bet locust honey would be THE best!

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  8. Does a poem count? The Locust Tree in Flower by William Carlos Williams... :)

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    1. I've never read it, and will go search it out. Thanks!!!

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  9. Nan, Your iris is gorgeous. As was the lilac. I have few flowers in my garden (too much shade), but I have iris and lilacs. Mary

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    1. Iris are so cheery. They are all over our land.

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  10. Nan, The Iris photo is spectacular! And beautifully composed.

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    1. Thanks! Not 'beautifully composed' but lucky shot from the iPhone. I took many before I got a good one. :<))

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  11. such a beautiful tree!
    i'll add it to my wish list.

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