The Thamm tabebuia tree at N. 4th & Broome Streets
The Thamm tabebuia tree at N. 4th & Broome Streets

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst 
March 22, 2015 3:50 p.m.

Working in our Historic District garden this weekend has been a treat because we know that spring is here and we can enjoy the early blooming azaleas and late blooming camellias, as we pull out the weeds and winter garden detritus and plant colorful annuals. But the star of our garden without a doubt is our tabebuia or golden trumpet tree.

DSCN4494It is not an exaggeration to say that dozens of people have stopped by to photograph, chat and exclaim over the beauty of this tree, which some have called a daffodil tree, others an overgrown azalea tree. It is neither. It is a tabebuia tree.

Several years ago at the 7th Street Farmers Market my husband and I spied a scrawny, small tree with a couple of beautiful, trumpet-like yellow flowers blooming from leaf-free branches. It was an object of curiosity, but no one seemed interested in buying something that had no sign or literature explaining what it was and how to care for it.

Gerhardt Thamm tends his garden in the shadow of the tabebuia tree.
Gerhardt Thamm tends his garden in the shadow of the tabebuia tree.

We talked to the landscaper, who was selling from his truck. He told us it was a tabebuia and that it was hardy enough to grow on Amelia Island. We remained skeptical, but since yellow is my husband’s favorite color, we decided to take a chance for $15. We did a little research and decided to plant it in our front yard, on the corner of North 4th and Broome Streets, where it has been attracting attention, photographers and amazement from passers-by for the last 6 years or so.

Today the tree has just about passed full bloom. The blossoms only last 2-3 weeks, depending on wind and rain. They are now beginning to cover the ground beneath the tree. Once they fall from the branches, the tree begins to sprout leaves, which remain on the tree until the following spring when they all suddenly drop to make room for the new flowers.

We invite you to drive by for a look before the blossoms fall, and in answer to many, many questions: we do not know where you can buy one. But here is a great website for more information about the tree:

Meanwhile, I’m considering applying for a fertilizer grant from the Tourist Development Council.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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gerry clare
gerry clare(@gerrycclaregmail-com)
7 years ago

I never thought of Florida as a blooming tree place…now I am amazed and aware of all this beauty…bradford pear trees downtown and everywhere…tulip trees in Marsh Lakes, azaleas big enough to be trees, rain trees, camelia bushes…bottlebrush…the yellow tree in front of the board of Realtors….wow….

Candace Bridgewater
Candace Bridgewater (@guest_31644)
7 years ago

We are lucky to live in such a special place. Consider also the native Fringetree, Dogwood and Redbud, all beautiful spring flowering trees native to Fernandina Beach.

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