Orchid Tree or Indian Bean Tree at Kingham Cottages?
The 5 acre gardens at Kingham Cottages have been developed over 20 years by Chris Stockwell and the enormously wide range of plants showcase his passion for gardening. One of the many joys is that something is in flower all year around and we often have flowers picked from the garden on the table on Christmas day. Guests staying at Kingham Cottages have access to the 5 acres of gardens and happy laughter can often be heard as children run around finding sculptures in our permanent collection or taking a bat and ball onto the main lawn to test Daddy’s new found cricket skills.
A guest recently asked if the very unusual tree in the corner of the main lawn was called an Orchid Tree because the flowers were reminiscent of an orchid. It’s all about your perception! Whilst an excellent question the tree in question is in fact a Catalpa, beloved by birds and bees in the 5 acre garden and a sight to behold in full flower at this time of year, dominating the view of the main lawn.
Catalpa’s are also known as Indian Bean Trees or Cigar Trees due to their seed pods which hang down amongst the oversized leaves in groups, reminiscent I think of vanilla pods.
Researching this blog I found that there is such a thing as an Orchid Tree, properly known as Bauhinia but it would not be hardy enough for our garden.
The glorious flowers of the catalpa are utterly stunning when viewed closely and from afar I always thought were reminiscent of Victorian Christmas trees with white candles standing to attention at the ends of all the branches.
Elsewhere in the garden other impressive trees strut their stuff. Magnolia Grandiflora, of which we have several around the pavilion, are in full bloom and the Golden Rain Tree is just coming into flower which, though it lost one of it’s primary lower branches this year, still towers over the half moon bed in spectacular fashion. It’s autumn colours are even more spectacular than it’s summer flowers because, like so many plants in the garden, it works hard for its keep!
Although most Cotswold gardens are looking fabulous at this time of year, we are delighted to be able to say we have an interesting garden all year round, not just structurally but for a keen eyed plants person as well. Don’t just take my word for it; come and visit!