Some of you might remember the Tulip Poplar tree I spotted last winter…a real beauty at the top of a hill in Newbury, MA. I was ridiculously excited to find this tree. I'd been wanting to make the essence for a long time but hadn't been able to find a good source. This particular tree has accessible branches and is growing in a remote spot - perfect for essence-making. I was eager to get this project underway this spring.
In early May, I started visiting the tree regularly, hiking up the trail to check on its progress. I watched its leaves come out and scoured its branches for any sign of buds.
The days went by.
Other Poplars around my town started to explode with flowers - gorgeous, orange-streaked cups - but this tree was very quiet. This tree didn't bloom at all.
Most sources say that once a Poplar tree is mature enough to flower, it will continue to bloom, year after year, for potentially 200+ years. So why this Tulip Poplar skipped a year is still an open question for me. It’s certainly possible that it’s stressed in some way. It takes energy to flower, and it may be that this tree needed to save its resources for some other purpose. Drought can affect blooming. Tulip Poplars are also vulnerable to aphids and root/stem rot, so it may have issues that aren’t immediately obvious.
I’m sorry that this project didn’t pan out this season, but I also kind of love that it didn’t. What didn't happen here invites me into a deeper relationship with this tree. I'm very curious now about its blooming cycles, about the absence of flowers and what this might mean for the tree, itself, and for a possible future essence.
It's also called my attention to my own agendas in doing this work. It's fine to hold intentions for making essences, but nature has its own rhythms. At the end of the day, my job is really just to pay attention and be available when and if the time is right for an essence to take form.
I did look around for another Poplar to work with, but I wasn’t able to find one that felt quite right. Trees are unique, magical beings. Each offers its own energetic imprints, and I couldn’t locate another that beckoned to me as this one had.
So for now, I’m just going to wait and see. Maybe next year I’ll be telling you a different story - or maybe not. This is a chance for me to laugh at all my earnest plans, welcome in patience and explore what other essences were actually ready to come forward this season.
To that end, I’m opening up a different tree study group this summer featuring Ginkgo biloba - which I made in May. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if Ginkgo speaks to you and you'd like to join! I’ll send you a free 1/2-ounce bottle of the Ginkgo essence which you'll take 2-3x/day for a week. I'll ask you a few questions about your experience and compile everyone's feedback here on the Delta Gardens blog. The study is open to 10 people.
Pictured here - the lovely, though flowerless, Tulip Poplar
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