Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tender Buds

Weather: Last useful precipitation 4/9/12; 13:21 hours of daylight today.

Thursday was the watershed, a cloudy day ideal for work. Before there was the fear mornings might be too cool to plant; now afternoons are too hot.

What’s blooming in the area: Apples peaked, flowering quince peaked, forsythia peaked, wisteria, bearded iris, moss phlox, donkey tail spurge.

Beyond the walls and fences: Choke cherry peaked, cottonwood, fernleaf globemallow, western stickseed, cryptantha, alfilerillo, hoary cress, purple and tansy mustards, purple mat flower, gypsum phacelia, bindweed, dandelion, cheat grass; buds on yucca, cream tips; Russian olive, tamarix, sandbar willow, chamisa leafing.

In my yard: Sand cherry peaked, purple leaf sand cherry peaked, fragrant lilacs, Siberian pea, daffodil, tulip, vinca, yellow alyssum; buds on spirea.

Bedding plants: Pansies, sweet alyssum, petunia.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geranium, pomegranate.

Animal sightings: Rabbit, hummingbird, other small brown birds, bees on Siberian pea, caterpillars around a dandelion, harvester and small black ants.

Weekly update: I have this feeling - it’s too amorphous to be called a superstition and much too silly to be a quack theory - but, I act like if I don’t look for something unwanted, it won’t be there.

All spring, as the weather was unusually warm, I avoided the tender trees, the ones that, year after year, leaf out, only to have their early growth killed by frost.

Last Saturday I couldn’t avoid them any longer. The Virginia creeper and trees of heaven near the village were leafing.

I had to look at mine, and every one of the frost sensitive trees was showing signs of life.

Tuesday, temperatures fell below freezing.

No one worries what that meant for the creeper and trees of heaven - it would take a lot more than a little cold to kill them.

Luckily, the roses of Sharon, those shrubs that get delayed most years by unwelcome chills, weren’t affected. They’ve been slow to go beyond the green showing through the buds at the tips of branches. Even now, only a few leaves have opened into small pennants.

The black locust, however, did notice the temperature drop. Monday, the buds were breaking and leaves were unfurling.

Wednesday, all those early leaves were abandoned, but new buds have since been opening on their graves, oblivious to what went before.

The catalpa is another matter. Since last year’s rough summer, I’ve been torn between giving it the water I suspected it needed and fear any notice would encourage it to emerge too soon. Last year, it lost all its terminal buds to frost, and only leaf buds set back from the tips emerged later.

Monday, this year’s green rounded buds had begun, ever so slightly, to open.

Wednesday, those early essays were gone and not much has happened since to indicate there is any reserve life force.

I did begin watering - morning temperatures since Wednesday have been in the 40's and afternoons near 80. Recent history sends me out each day to look, only now I really wish looking could make something happen.

1. Tree of heaven near village, 14 April 2012.

2. Virginia creeper near village, 14 April 2012.

3. Rose of Sharon, 20 April 2012.

4. Black locust, 16 April 2012.

5. Black locust, 19 April 2012.

6. Catalpa, 16 April 2012.

7. Catalpa, 19 April 2012; last year’s dead buds remain as well.

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