From Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History by Diana Wells:
“Some Asian pears, notably the Bradford pear, were cultivated in the West not for their fruit but as ornamentals. The Bradford pear was so popular it once threatened to dominate American streets, with its pyramid form, lovely fall foliage, and beautiful blossoms. It was planted everywhere, but the upright branches break easily, especially with snow on them, so it isn’t used as much now as it once was. It got the name Bradford from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s director.“
From Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram:
“[Meaningful] speech cannot … be restricted to the audible dimension of sounds and sighs. The animate earth expresses itself in so many other ways. Last night while I lay sleeping [the old tree] in front of the house quietly broke into blossom, and so when, in the morning and still unaware, I stepped outside to stretch my limbs, I was stunned into silence by the sudden resplendence….
“The old tree was speaking to the space around it…. The whole yard was listening, transformed by the satin eloquence of the petals.“
From Through the Garden Gate by Elizabeth Lawrence:
“It has been more than ten years since I stood there and looked down on those white flowers growing gently among the green leaves.“
In the first gallery below, I’ve isolated a few individual Bradford Pear blossoms from the hundreds that the tree in front of my house produces each year. Like Elizabeth Lawrence says in the quote above, I, too, have watched this tree for over a decade as it grew from a ten foot spray of a dozen spindly branches to a behemoth that shades half of my front yard. Bradford Pear fragility, however, is noteworthy: on this one, an telephone-pole-sized section of the tree split and slid down the trunk, then jammed against a few branches last summer — and had to be extracted with a crane by city workers. But maybe that’s what it needed; now that new branches have grown in and the short-lived blossoms have been replaced by leaves, you can’t even tell that a chunk of the tree disappeared.
These delightful little creatures are a variety of spirea, featuring delicate white flowers about a quarter inch in diameter, waving on thin branches in a mid-morning breeze.
Select any image to see larger versions in a slideshow (then select View Full Size if you would like to see more detail).
Thanks for taking a look!