Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Quest for the Golden Raintree!!!!

The beautiful Golden Yellow blooms of the Raintree.

Talk about Romance, How about a Golden Raintree and a Purple House. Where is Alice?

    I do not believe, that I can look at a Golden Raintree and not be taken back in mind, to a former day and time. There is Romance, War, Sadness, Happiness, and Mystery, all wrapped up in those branches, bearing those long golden blooms.
    The story of the Golden Raintree is  long, complicated, and excites in  a  novel like, experience,. un-written, just flashing through my mind, like a movie.There  has always been Romance associated with the Golden Raintree,  from the opera, "Flower Drum Song", to a best selling novel. "Raintree County", and even a block buster,epic, of a movie, "Raintree County". Once you see the trees burst open in full bloom and fall gently to the ground below, making a golden blanket up on the ground, you can not help, but to fall in love with them. My little Mid- America town, Clarksville,Mo. is full of these Golden Raintrees and they are, yes indeed, in full bloom. Close your eyes, as you look at my pictures and see if you don't see the same, Romance and Mystery, come to life.

     The Golden Raintree-or "Goldenrain",   are from  Asians ,where the trees first came from. The correct name is, "Koelreuteria  Paniculata". It is  popularly grown as an ornamental tree in temperate regions all across the world , because of the aesthetic appeal of it's flowers, leaves and seed pods. The seed pods look like lanterns on a string, and  in the fall, many floral designers, collect them, and use them in there arrangements. The seeds are edible when roasted, but  not commonly consumed. They are considered a  invasive species and hated in some places. I think ever seed that falls, grows. Often called weed trees, because of this reason. Sometimes known as stink trees, as when you break a branch ,there is a bad smell.  None of this sound Romantic, yet?----Just be patient, you will see.

    The Golden Raintree, is also known in some parts of the world as, "The Pride Of India". or,"China Tree"
They are native to Eastern Asia, especially, China and Korea. It is not really known how they made it to the United States. Some people  believe they were imported here, on spice trade ships ,from Asia. They are a small to medium sized deciduous tree and domed shaped. They bloom in mid June to early July. The flowers are bright yellow with 4 pedals, growing in a large terminal, down hanging, in  a weeping effect. In the fall the blooms turn into a lantern looking seed pod. Some say that the seeds were scattered all over the United States by Johnny Appleseed. Now, there is some Romance!
   In 1948 a Novel by Ross Lockridge Jr, was the start ,of making the Golden Raintrees, what they are  today.The title of this novel was, "Raintree County". Raintree is a whale of a book, in every sense of the word. It took six years to write and several more years to do research, before the writing could take place. It runs 1060 pages. It is a Great American Novel. A bold drama full of love and conflict. A love story as daring and  frank as any other ever written. There are secrets,  mental illness and demons to be  fronted.The story is told all in one day, July 4th,1892. Replete with history, romance and adventure. The tale is brillantly intertwined with a series of flashbacks.It tells a story of a small town in mid-western America. There is a teacher and poet, named John Swanessey, who, in younger days, before his service as a Union Soldier in the Civil War, meet and married a beautiful Southern Belle, however, her emotional instability leads to the destruction of their marriage.  The novel, set in fictional, Raintree County, Indiana, is essentially in two parts, before  and after the war.It spans the 19th century, history of the United States, from Pre-Civil War, Westward Expansion, to the debate of Slavery,the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and Labor Movement, , which followed.  The book takes readers on a quest to find the legendary Golden  Raintree, which supposedly was planted somewhere in Raintree County by Johnny  Appleseed.
     In 1951, the  film rights for the movie was bought from Lockridge by  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, for $150,00.00 and a movie, by the same title, "Raintree Country", was made.  The movie, was filmed in Louisville,Kentucky, and stared, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. And Eva Marie Saint played the left behind sweetheart. It was filmed toward the end of Hollywood's Golden Age, in the tradition of a great traditional Civil War Romance. The movie was lavishly conceived, made for the wide screen, with a great musical score by Johnny Green. The film premier was in 1957 in Louisville, Kentucky.My best friend in St.Louis, was Richard Haley, he was from Louisville and  the movie company rented his family home for Ms. Taylor to live in during the filming. That makes the whole story, even more Romantic!
     Suzanne, played by Elizabeth Taylor, is a beautiful Southern Belle who tricks  Shawnessey, into marring her, by saying she is  with child. She is surrounded with  mystery from her early childhood ,when she lost her parents in a house fire., that some people think she started.  She was raised by the Black Nanny, whom she thinks, might be her mother. She has a thing for dolls and keeps them in the bed she shares with her husband. Shawnessy drifts away from his child hood sweetheart, played by Eva Marie Saint, to his loveless marriage to Suzanne. Swanessey who is a teacher and poet, spends the most of his free time, looking for a rumored Raintree. No one really knows if it actually exist. Suzanne driven by the fact, she might be part black, runs off into the swamp in a rage  and is found at the end of the story, dead, under the falling golden flowers, of a Raintree. Now that is Romance!!!!!

From the Movie,Taylor, Saint and Clift, visit the home  that brunt when Suzanne was a small child, killing her parents.

From the movie, Raintree Country, my favorite scene, where Taylor and Clift get rid of the dolls.

Taylor was a true beauty and made for this part.

   If you have not read this book, I would suggest you do so soon. It is hard to put down and the 1060 pages go fast. The movie, is just about perfect. The only other, I like better, is another Civil War story, "Gone with the Wind". Taylor is young in this movie and is more beautiful than one can imagine. She plays the part with great passion. Her Southern  actions are the best, I have seen. She gives her best performance during a scene when her and Clift,  get rid of the dolls. I always set on the edge of the chair when this takes place. I just want to pitch a few dolls out the window along with them.I would say, if you have not seen this movie, do so, soon.
   When I was restoring, My Old Historic House, I had to make a decision,  on what kind of porch rails to use. The original ones were long gone. Doing research, I came up with some cast iron ones, that had a lamb under a Raintree. I knew there was no reason to look any more, as this was it. Having the Raintrees in Clarksville, and the love of the movie and novel on my mind, I had no choice but to pick these . I get so many people, who comment on them, stop and take pictures of them ,and I only wish I could tell this story, about the connection, to them and the Golden Raintree.
   When the Raintrees started blooming, I knew I wanted to share this story with all my friends on the Blog.  I wish you could come see me and Sissy Dog while the Raintrees are in bloom. Take a tour. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will meet you with a big jump and a kiss. If you get a chance, I would suggest you plant a Raintree. They grow very fast and there is a wonderful story behind those Golden Blooms.

The porch rails at, My Old Historic House, with a lamb, under a Raintree.

A real beauty.

This is how the seed pods look in the fall.


Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

My neighbors had a rain tree when I was growing up. You porch rails are beautiful..has to be a one of a kind!!

Barbara F. said...

I love this post! These trees are the most beautiful trees I have seen. Now I want to read the book "Raintree County" and see the movie. Your porch rails are stunning and very unique. xo,

lvroftiques said...

I haven't seen a raintree in my neck of the country Richard, but they certainly are beautiful and romantic! I saw the movie many many years ago. Elisabeth Taylor is one of the great beauties of all time IMHO. How cool is it that she stayed at your friends house!
And your porch rails are perfect for your house my friend. Vanna

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Oh my goodness.....the rails are the most beautiful I have ever seen!! And the story of the raintree is so fascinating. I must confess I have never heard of this tree, although we do have a Raintree housing community in our city. Now I want to see the movie and read the book. Another project on my never ending "to do" list. :) xoxo p.s. love the purple house!

Pearl said...

I loved the story of the rain tree and then to see them in your railings how cool! I can tell Richard your a true romantic. Great post!

afternoon tea said...

I love your railings and I love Raintrees. I brought some seedlings back to Ontario when we moved from B.C. even though I knew we are outside of the growing zone. I just had to try. I also tried Wisteria and Japanese Maples. None of them survived, but I just had to try.

Sissysmom said...

I love the movie Raintree County!!!! One of my all time favorites. I have not read the book, but I think I will now. I don't think I have ever seen a real Raintree, they are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing the pictures and all the history of these wonderful trees.!!

Give Sissy Dog a pat on the head from me!

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Richard

Thank you for such an interesting post: I always learn something new from you. It is such a charming thought: all those yellow carpets of fallen flowers.


Sweet Old Vintage said...

Oh so lovely... The trees and the rails.. I have never seen one in bloom... Enjoyed the post....

Southerncook said...

What a beautiful tree. I have never seen one so I am assuming that they don't grow in our area of N FL. Thank you for sharing. As a gardener I always am intrigued by seeing other things that grow in other parts of the country.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Kim, USA said...

I am Asian and this looks very familiar to me. In Summer I remember there's this tree that blooms so many yellow flowers but this tree is huge and this one are smaller. I wish I could plant it here in MI it's beautiful and it brings back childhood memories.

Asian Lilies

Chubskulit Rose said...

Gorgeous shots! I never knew the name of that tree till now, thanks to you!

Mellow Yellow at my page, have a great week!

genie said...

I have never heard of the raintrees, but I do remember the title of the movie Now I will have to look at it. They are wonderful, colorful trees, and they must be a glorious sight to sore eyes. The purple house with the yellow of the tree beside it was great, That is definitely purple!!! All of your pictures are lovely and your history lesson was such an interesting one. Genie

flm said...

I have read the book and have seen the movie numerous times. I have long dreamed of finding the Raintrees. Many years ago, I was told that there was a forest of them in Bowling Green. I went there in search, but no one was able to help me locate them. I am so excited to find that they are in Clarksville! (I'm in Columbia.) Is there a forest that you know of, or are they just scattered here and there around the town? Will they still be in bloom this time next week - June 28th or 29th? Thanks so much!

bj said...

Oh my...this has to be one of my all time favorite movies. You know, Liz had a thing for M. Cliff at one time. They did end up as very good friends. The movie was, as you say, just about perfect.
I live in West Texas where it is very hot and dry. I doubt a Raintree would ever survive here. They are, indeed, breathtaking.
What a beautiful porch rail. I've never seen anything like it. I intend to tour your Southern home soon. Will come back and read more.
Also linking up to follow. :)

Richard Cottrell said...

Dear flm, I wish I could email you, thanks for coming by my Blog. I so do appreciate it. The trees in Clarksville, might still be in bloom next week. We have been having rains and wind and some are falling. You can call if you want to see. 573 242 9688. I would love to have you visit. Also I just learned since I did this post that the seeds for our Riantrees, here in Clarksville, were brought here by a family who visited in Asia in the late 1800.s. I did not even know that. We do not have a forest, but they are scattered all around town. One lady here has some to give away, if yoy are interested. Thanks so much. Richard

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Richard, I loved this post and now must see the movie. Your railings are so lovely and unique. Are they one of a kind or did you purchase them from a current supplier? I adore lambs. .and now raintrees.
~ ~Ahrisha~~

xinex said...

The raintrees are so beautiful, Rochard! I saw the movie. I had to see it after I went to see the Windsor Ruins where they have filmed part of the movie. It was the supposedly the house where Eliz. Taylor lived when she was small. It's not too far from here...Christine

Bohemian said...

Oh what a magnificent Tree & I love how it looked beside the Purple House! *winks, of coarse I would, LOL* I wonder how well they would grow in a Desert region? And if anyone would have a magnificent custom railing of this tree of coarse it would have to be you... you never cease to amaze me my Friend!!!

I was seeking the elusive AFFORDABLE Vintage Large Persian Carpet (8x10 and top of the line naturally, Smiles) and 'scored' yesterday, I've posted on it today... I'm still on the adrenalin Rush of procuring a fab 8x10 Hamadan for under fifty buck and a Large Kilim Pillow for under $3 at the Goodwill! *Angels Singing in my ears still! LOL* Come take a peek my Friend, I know you have some gorgeous Persian Rugs & Carpets in your beautiful Home so you will appreciate my new Lovely & celebrate my good fortune! On my budget I was told it would be impossible to score my vision... but the Law of Attraction worked once again in my favor... *me basking in the good fortune*

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

niartist said...

Beautiful tree. I tried to talk Scott into one of these when we were choosing landscaping for the backyard - and he was absolutey against them because of the clean up! Blah, blah, blah! LOL! I came by via Susan's party, but I missed it myself. I took pics of my pergola all dressed up this afternoon (with the 2 hour lull in the rain), and I REALLY hope you'll stop by and take a peak, and let me know what you think of the progress! :)

Anyes K. Busby - Studio Vignette Fine Art said...

Your Raintrees are spectacular, just like your porch railings, well done Richard.

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

I've heard of the Golden Raintrees, but have never seen any growing up this way. How beautiful! I wish they would grow here! You're a genius for using those porch railings. What an authentic way to bring your home back to it's original form, by interpreting the local flora. Very Victorian way of thinking! :-)