Recently Joey was contacted by The Field Museum in Chicago about a GMG post from May 2012. They were interested in acquiring an image of mine from a post about our beautiful HarborWalk Tulip Trees, planted at St. Peter’s Square.
Tulip Tree at the Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden
The Field Museum is currently developing an engaging new scientific exhibition on the topic of Biomechanics that will debut in the spring of 2014. Led by the curatorial efforts of Field Museum Curator of Zoology, Dr. Mark Westneat, the exhibition will explore the science of looking at living things as machines built by nature and evolution. One of the topics presented includes wind and how the leaves of a tree change in the wind.
I selected Tulip Trees for the gardens not only because they have a lovely ornamental bi-color effect when the leaves catch the wind, but primarily because they have a storied connection to Gloucester history. Liriodendron tulipifera was one of the primary woods used for tall ship’s masts, and because much of the wood from which the CB Fisk organs are built is Tulip Poplar (thank you to Greg Bover for the information about the Fisk connection to tulip poplar!). Tulip Trees are also a caterpillar food plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly!
See post about Tulip Trees ~Welcome Tulip Trees!
The magnificent Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called Tulip Poplar or Yellow Poplar, is named and noted for its tulip-shaped flowers. Tulip Trees are native to the eastern United States and are relatively fast growing, without the problem of weak wood strength and short life span typical of fast growing trees.
Tulip Trees at the Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden
The foliage of the Tulip Tree has a distinct four lobed shape, with a beautiful fluttering habit when caught in the wind. Come fall, the tree is ablaze in brilliant clear yellow. Rich in nectar, Tulip Trees are a major honey plant of the east. In our region the tree typically flowers in June. The nectar also invites songbirds Cardinal and Gold Finch, as well as Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Liriodendron tulipifera is one of only two species in the genus Liriodendron in the Magnolia Family.
Fun fact from wiki: Native Americans so habitually made their dugout canoes of its trunk that the early settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains called it Canoewood.
Tulip Trees (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Monday the Tulip Trees were planted at St. Peter’s Square and Tuesday was devoted to Whale Watch and General Store planting areas. Today we are tackling Gus Foote Park. You may notice a few bare spots; not all plants have been delivered. We’ll be adding more to the gardens as they arrive.
Jay Ramsey and his crew from Farm Creek Landscpaping are doing a top-notch job—professional and so enthusiastic. We are all so excited to see the installation of the city’s Harbor Walk gardens underway. I’ll be bringing you information on some of the native beauties we have planted and their value to the landscape and to wildlife. People often ask me why they have so few bees in their garden and I respond, “What have you planted for the bees and for all the pollinators?” When you plant for the pollinators, they will come!