August 5, 2013

The Story of a Mimosa Tree

(This is a photo-heavy post; thank you for your patience as it loads.)

When we first moved to Oak Hill from the midwest, this massive tree shaded our driveway and mailbox. The summer flowers were so fragrant, and in the fall it produced long seed pods. I had no idea what this exotic-looking tree was. A friend came over one day and said it was the biggest mimosa tree she'd ever seen, and with that, the mystery was solved.


The trunk was massive; I couldn't reach my arms around it. Who knows how old it was. It showed damage from wind and ice storms, but through all the storms of life, it stood tall and shaded our mailbox until August 2008.


One night we heard a thunderstorm off in the distance, then an ear-splitting BOOM that sounded like a bomb had gone off in our front yard. The house bounced. Our internet was gone. I kept looking out the windows through the heavy rain, but couldn't see any evidence of trouble. In the morning we discovered what the lightning had struck: the huge old mimosa tree.


Half of the tree had came down across the driveway and the trunk was still burning and smoking.


The tallest of the trunks had fallen, but we had to take down the rest of the tree as well when it began leaning precariously.


This past year the tree next to the old one died as well. It too will have to come down, but we'll need some help to do it.


There is a third, smaller mimosa nearby, also in the circle driveway. It isn't really a small tree, except in comparison to the older trees.


It looked like a bush next to the other two, but now that it stands alone (and after some judicious pruning) it looks more like a tree.


I can't tell you how heavenly the scent of mimosa is on a dew-damp summer morning when the tree is in bloom. Sweet, light, and yet heady. I love taking an envelope out to the mailbox and standing under the tree for a few minutes, and drinking in the fragrance. It's a "stop and smell the roses" kind of thing.


The flowers remind me of fiber-optic lights, with the tiny little pinpoint of golden light on the end of each "petal".


In the late summer the spent flowers will fall on the breeze like snowflakes, and in the fall the seed pods will litter the ground underneath. Mimosas have become one of my favorite trees.




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10 comments:

  1. I have loved Mimosas since I was a little girl, climbing the one in my grandma's back yard. I remember getting yelled at as young as 4 yrs old, for climbing it. It was just impossible to resist, with its soft, fern-like foliage, & sweet, little-girl friendly pink & white pompon blossoms!

    But, they don't grow up here, in the Northern states, so when I moved to the South again, I did not stop hunting, until I found a handful of saplings in my neighbor's yard! She laughed at me, when I was so earnest, asking if I might cul them from around the bases of her big ones, & told me to 'have at it!'. That's exactly what I did! My own little girls love the Mimosas almost as much as I did, and in the middle of a warm, heavy, summer rain, the the of us dug up & transplanted seven of them, into our front yard!

    Eventually, I had to leave them behind again, when I move North, yet again. Someday, I will figure out a way to have a Mimosa up here, even if we have to build a shelter for it, to over-winter! lol

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  2. I love your story, Sassss. I can see that mimosas would be fun to climb with their many trunks all intertwined together. If people can grow lemon trees in their sunrooms and greenhouses, I bet you could grow a mimosa!

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  3. My thoughts, exactly! Yours is/was also the biggest I've ever seen! I can easily see why you'd miss it.

    The bark is good for barefoot climbing. Its texture is course enough & solid enough, to get a grip, yet still not so course a to bite painfully into your flesh, lol!

    Thank you for your blog. I don't often comment, but I welcome the perks into a life so similar to what I've had, & hope to have again, some day. I can't wait to go back to (at least semi) rural life, in a few more years! :)

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  4. Sassss, I hope you can get back to the country soon. Thank you for reading and for commenting!

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  5. I love the smell of Mimosa flowers! It reminds me of my childhood. We have a very small one in the brush near our house and we plan on tending it to grow. As a kid, my best friend and I tried countless times to make "perfume" from the flowers, never quite worked out though.

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  6. Susie3:46 PM

    Oh my goodness!-What memories!! When we moved to the country, I was only 7 years old and my Granddaddy had planted a small grove of them-just cause he loved them as well! We were NOT allowed to climb in them-he said it would damage them-although we did when he wasn't around to catch us! ;) My parents divorced after I was grown and both moved from the property and it sat vacant for awhile at which time everyone of the mimosas died! I've always felt it was because there was no one there to love them anymore. I'll always have a special attachment to them as well!

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  7. I'm really enjoying everyone's comments about growing up with special trees. I feel like I missed out by not seeing my first one until 9 years ago. Thank you all for sharing your stories!

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  8. What a beautiful tree, we don't have them here in Vermont so it's fun to read about yours!

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  9. John L. Barnard1:26 PM

    John in Reisterstown Md. I have enjoyed Mimosa trees all my life since I learned what they were when I was 4 over 60 years ago. At this time I am looking out my front window at my huge single trunk 100 foot tall Mimosa which is taller than some of the oaks in this historic over 250 year old area. This Mimosa tree is the tallest I have ever seen. I just had to add comment to your great blog.




























































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  10. Hi John, thank you for visiting and commenting. I'm amazed at your very tall and singled-trunked mimosa. Those I've seen here in Oklahoma are always many-trunked and I think that's why they look like bushes (to me) instead of trees.

    Are there other mimosas nearby? They seem to grow in groves and I think they share root systems.

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