We have a mature catalpa tree in our front yard. I don't know if I've mentioned this tree before, but I do love it. The house I grew up in also had one of these trees so I have that nostolgic connection besides the fact that it's just a beautiful tree. I was once told that catalpas are native to a more southern zone and were imported here. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case, mostly because of the flowers.
You see the catalpa is a flowering tree. In our zone, the only native trees that flower grow fruit and stay somewhat small. They are ornamentals and look lovely in the yard. The caltalpa on the other hand grows 40 ft tall and produces no fruit. It also is one of the first trees to lose it's leaves in the fall and one of the last to grow them in the spring. All the leaves will fall in the same day, and if it's a normal fall, they don't even have time to change color. They just all drop at the first hard frost. But back to the subject at hand. Imagine a 40ft tree covered in clusters of white flowers. They have a soft, sweet scent that drifts under the canopy on warm afternoons. The flowers are my favorite part of the catalpa. They make me want to grab a blanket and lay out under the tree for a nap. (not something I actually ever get time to do, I just want to.)
This last week, we had a wind storm. It blew down full clusters of blossoms from my tree. The next day, I gathered up the stems and brought them into the house and placed them in a pint jar on my table, a large bush of white brightening the room. That evening when the house was quiet and the room was lit with two lamps, the scent of the blooms filled the room, a promise that summer was just beginning.