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I’m walking about one day and a stranger approaches and asks, “How do you know when winter is coming?” Short of looking at the calendar, in 2016, winter begins on December 21, 5:44 A.M. EST. Learn more about the winter solstice, facts, and folklore! Check out The Old Farmers Almanac. http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-winter-winter-solstice
However, around our house the way we tell when winter is getting close is by the Paulonia, or more commonly known name, The Princess Tree. When the first frost approaches the tree loses most of it’s leaves.
Yep you guessed it, I’m saying winter began on November 20th this year.
An old friend who is a lover of trees gave me a Princess Tree some years back. In year one it grew six or eight inches, during one of my late grass mowings I thought it had died. Yep, you guessed it, mowed that sucker down I did. The next year it came back with a growth spurt that was amazing. We got an early frost and I remember all the leaves just fell off. Every year since, first frost, down come the leaves.
So if you were to ask me when winter begins I’d say, when the leaves fall from the Princess Tree.
The following on the tree is from Wiki. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulownia_tomentosa
Paulownia tomentosa is cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
The characteristic large size of the young growth is exploited by gardeners: by pollarding the tree and ensuring there is vigorous new growth every year, massive leaves are produced (up to 23in/60 cm across). These are popular in the modern style of gardening which uses large-foliaged and “architectural” plants.
In China, the tree is planted at the birth of a girl. The fast-growing tree matures when she does. When she is eligible for marriage the tree is cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry. Carving the wood of Paulownia is an art form in Japan and China. In legend, it is said that the phoenix will only land on the Empress Tree and only when a good ruler is in power. Several Asian string instruments are made from P. tomentosa, including the Japanese koto and Korean gayageum zithers.
The soft, lightweight seeds were commonly used as a packing material by Chinese porcelain exporters in the 19th century, before the development of polystyrene packaging. Packing cases would often leak or burst open in transit and scatter the seeds along rail tracks. The magnitude of the numbers of seeds used for packaging, together with seeds deliberately planted for ornament, has allowed the species to be viewed as an invasive species in areas where the climate is suitable for its growth, notably Japan and the eastern United States.
The Paulownia tree
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual
Common Name: Princess Tree
Scientific Name: Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.
Only 48 hours until Thanksgiving.
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.