Last weekend, I met and made a new friend at the antique store, where I bought my sewing cabinet drawers. She was friendly and helpful and we started talking about gardening, chickens, and then about trees.
When I told her that I go around the neighborhood picking leaves from trees and on the ground for my eco-printing–she was quite surprised. She then told me that she does the same and that her children were embarrassed by her behavior. So, one thing led to another, and I asked her if she had ever come across a catalpa tree. Guess what,–she said she had, and then showed me pictures on her artwork of concrete leaves made with Catalpa and cement; then the address where the tree was located.
As I was driving to the address, I spotted the tree from a distance, well before reaching the address where it was located. It was this enormous and tall tree in front of the house. I was in awe when saw this tree. It is truly an impressive and magnificent tree!
I walked up the to the front door, and rang the doorbell. A sweet lady opened the door. I introduced myself and asked if I could have some of her Catalpa leaves. She was nice and friendly, and told me the tree is over 30 years old, it was planted from seeds that she brought back from her aunt’s house in Ohio. She told me that I could always come back next Spring to pick more leaves and flowers to make a garland.
Catalpa or Catawba is a rare and special tree with large heart-shaped green foliage, and beautiful ornamental flowers in white and pink. The catalpa fruit is a long thin pod growing up to two feet long that resembles a string bean.
When I got home, I quickly did some tests to see how well the leaves would print. In my first test, I put a leaf between sheets of watercolor paper and steamed in water for about half an hour. The rest of the leaves, I gingerly wrapped in paper towels and placed in my cooler. Here are the results with the paper.
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