Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This Bud's for You

Redbuds are budding out.
This week buds are starting to break out of their winter dormancy.  They are like little baby plants, nurtured over the winter with all the elements of leaves, branches and flowers, ready to burst forth on their own time schedule.

Buckeye bud in early spring
Buckeye buds are my favorite, large and brightly colored.  They are the first buds to open and leaf out in the spring.  They also are the first trees to lose their leaves, usually in mid August.  These are good buds to study, both from their size and their ability to mature when the stems are cut and kept in water.  They also make a seasonal table decoration.

Buckeye buds opening
Buckeye leaves open
Buckeye buds seem to open up over night, anxious to start photosynthesis and creating the buckeye nuts we will harvest in the fall.  Carrying one in your pocket, polished with a little sweat will bring you good luck throughout the year - at least it has for me.

Spicebush buds

Some other early spring buds are colorful as well, competing with the ephemeral spring wildflowers for attention.  The redbuds at the top are tiny but certainly the brightest of the crop.  Spicebush buds are a bright yellow-green, dainty but announcing the spicy smell that awaits anyone who scratches the fragile skin of the stem.

Box elder buds maturing
Early box elder buds

The newest branches of the box elder are bright green, more showy than the fuzzy green buds which open into dark red leaf clusters, preparing the opposite branched stems to follow.

Now is the time to enjoy the buds.  Like a newborn in a bassinet, they will come out wrinkled for a day but then will stretch out and grow.

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