Sunday, April 08, 2012

Lame Tree Buds

Weather: 12:53 hours of daylight today.

Snow began Monday twilight, but temperatures stayed above freezing most of the night when I could hear water dripping off the back roof. It provided badly needed water to plants that like cold water.

What’s blooming in the area: Choke cherry, crab apple, flowering quince, forsythia, daffodils, alfilerillo, purple and tansy mustards, dandelion.

What’s blooming in my yard: Bradford pear, cherries, peach, sand cherry, hyacinth, vinca; buds on Siberian peas, lilacs, yellow alyssum.

What’s leafing in the area: Apples.

What’s leafing in my yard: Floribunda roses, hybrid tea roses and their Doctor Huey rootstock, purple leaf sand cherry.

Bedding plants: Pansies, sweet alyssum.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geranium, pomegranate.

Animal sightings: Small birds, gecko, ladybug, bees around peach, first hornets, young crickets, harvester and small black ants, earth worms.

Weekly update: Spring is more than apricots and daffodils.

All winter you look at trees that have been reduced to the bare sticks of their infancy.

And then there are signs of life.

The ones that are special, that you check more often, are the ones that had troubled childhoods. The ones that turned out to have damaged roots when you got them home, or were wind battered.

My purple leafed plum looked fine when I bought it in 2009, but before I could plant it a storm came through. Even though it was protected on my front porch, the branches were buried under heavy snow that turned to ice. When I touched them, the branches shattered.

The next spring it only had one good branch. The winter of 2011 was severe, but it started to recover with new branches near the ground.

Other people’s trees may be close to blooming right now, but I was overjoyed this week to see mine had simply put out leaf buds on all its branches.

The globe willow I bought in 2005 went into immediate shock. When it came back the next year, it was from the base. Now, I’m not even sure I have a globe willow. It could be some kind of root stock.

Still, even as I my neighbor continued to clear damage from his dead trees with a back hoe, I was happy to see the smallest leaves separate from the protective scale and start to individualize themselves.

This year I put in a new cherry which arrived with buds already breaking dormancy. The question, would they die from shock or would I be able to protect them because I was home during the day?

The answer won’t be known for a season, but when I saw it separate from the tree I had hopes of success.

When I’m out looking for signs of change, I always come upon the volunteers so eager to please me, hoping when I see their leaves emerging, I’ll be excited and won’t try to kill them again. I may ponder the vagaries of nature, when kindness kills and malignancy does not, but I’ll still cut down the Siberian elms whenever I see them.

1. Apricot still trying to bloom with expanding leaf buds, 5 April 2012. The apricots were caught in the same snow storm as the plum, and haven't yet fully recovered.

2. Recently emerged daffodils in shadow of the garage, 25 March 2012.

3. Tamarix leaf buds, 4 April 2012.

4. Tamarix leaf buds elongating, 4 April 2012.

5. Purple leafed plum leaf buds, 4 April 2012.

6. Emerging leaves on globe willow, or its root stock, 28 March 2012.

7. Newly planted Stella cherry leaf bud, 4 April 2012.

8. New leaves on Siberian elm, hiding from discovery, 4 April 2012.

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