I know that the tulip poplar (The tulip tree [argh] in many Indiana classrooms) is our state tree. It’s a beautiful tree and provides important lumber resources. We have a young tulip poplar in our garden, a welcome volunteer, and am completedly fascinated with the sped of its growth. A two leafed sprout, only 4 summers ago, now stands well over 20′ tall!
Another tree of worth, one that I consider Indiana’s un-offical state tree, is the sassafrass tree. I was introduced to the sassafrass as a boy on a field trip to Rockville, Indiana’s Covered Bridge Festival. Each student was given a steaming cup of sassafrass tea. It warmed us on a cold day with a flavor , not accidentally, like that of root beer.
About ten years ago we came across a sassafrass tree at a Carmel nursery. We had to have it and purchased it on the spot. We some creativity and gumption we got the small tree into the backseat of the car…across the laps of Hannah and Phoebe, then little girls. On the way home we found ourselves at Wilson’s Farm Market. Wilson’s is the only place that I know, outside SE Pennsylvania here sweet Lebanon bologna can be purchased. This Pennsylvania German lunch meat was a staple in my grandmother’s kitchen. As we drove home sampling our bologna, Hannah announce through the branches of tht sassafrass that this experience was just like a picnic in the woods!
That tree grows stongly in the same side garden as the poplar tree. In fact, the poplar sprouted beneath the sassafrass and soon overtook it. Sassafrass is a slow growing under-story tree. It knows its place.
One of the many decisions that needs to be made about the new Folk School in the cellar of the Victorian House is what colors will be used. This is an important decision and everyone has an opinion. Worse (or better) we are a community of creative folks with very strong ideas about color.
I looked out the window this weekend and saw our sassafrass in its full autumn glory and was strucj with inspiration. Why don’t we experiement with taking the colors of the trees and landscape that has meaning to the members of our community?
Inspired by a recent Lowe’s commercial that claimed that they could paint match anything (In the commercial it’s a giant stuffed walrus) we chose three leaves, one red, one yellow and another green, and headed off to Lowe’s.
Steve, Julie’s favorite Lowe’s paint man, was on duty and really went to town finding just the right colors. The computer would get him close (sometimes) and he would improvise the final adjustments. We came home with three sample cans of sassafrass colored paints.
This weekend I’ll paint something and we’ll get some idea of how they look. Hopefully they’ll look great and no one will have any reason to complain or bicker over color.
We’ll see. It’s just another part of the adventure!