Saturday, April 25, 2009

A million things to say.

Lilac leaves.

As I sit and write this, I listen to the steady patter of rain through the window, punctuated by an occasional distant thunderclap.  This morning, we got up and worked in the garden, savoring the warm weather that had hung on since yesterday.  We went to the farmer's market, and the car thermometer read 72 degrees (this was 10:30 or so).  As we finished our shopping there, huge, splattering raindrops began to fall -- and soon were mixed with hailstones!  I saw lightning streak across the sky.  By the time we got home from several errands, the temperature was 54 degrees.  But from inside it is actually pleasant, the sound calming.  And the world 
looks green and almost summery.  

This is, in reality, an illusion.  A lot of the green that is starting to pop out is not the leaves emerging, but rather the trees flowering (see photo of maple flowers at right).  These flowers are what gave Crayola the color "spring green," in my opinion.  This shade that hugs the tree branches now won't appear at any other time of the year.

After all the anticipation, my bloodroot is essentially finished flowering,  Spring ephemerals, they call this group of wildflowers.  Ephemeral.  Fleeting, short-lived.  An appropriate name, but even more appropriate for the connotation than the denotation.  To me, the very word has a shimmering quality.  Like a mirage.  You see it, it is beautiful, but if you reach out to touch it, you will find it isn't there at all.  

In other spring ephemeral news, I thought that my Dutchman's Breeches were not coming back.  Turns out, they emerged yesterday or the day before, but they are quite small and definitely
 won't flower this year.  I don't know if they are growing bigger by the year, or smaller by the year, but I am hoping for the former.  My May apples (seen emerging at right) have been spreading like wildfire, apparently.  Where one used to be, I now have a circle of 5 emerging; another one has turned to a circle of 4.  (And 2 others continue to be solo acts.  Perhaps they don't have such prime locations.)  I am not sure if a circle of 5 constitutes a fairy circle yet, but I am on my way in the future!  I quite like the idea of tiny fairies dancing around my spring
 ephemerals, perhaps napping under the colorful glass mushrooms that I put back into the yard yesterday...

I am also happy to report that my silphium is coming back. 
 For days I have been looking and not seen it; today I pulled back the leaves and found that there are as many as 10 tiny, deeply lobed leaves that are already probably 6 inches tall.  This compass plant just may be my favorite thing in my yard... maybe... so I am thrilled and relieved to have it returning.  (See photo at right.)  Other updates to briefly
  1. the ash tree in my yard has swelling buds, but no leaves to speak of; just three houses down, there are emerging leaves from an ash tree.  Don't ask me...
  2. Honey locust buds and redbud buds (the flower ones) are also swelling and ready.  As compound leaves tend to leaf out late, these are notable!
  3. Oak buds continue to swell, but no leaves there, either.

Below are a few photos from previous updates:  The first tulip, pasqueflower, some cool mushroom gills, emerging wild ginger,two turtle shells, and Virginia bluebells almost flowering.  

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