Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wild Wednesday ~ Signs of Spring

Spring this year has been coming in fits and starts. Twice my crocus came up (first yellow, then purple) only to be flattened by cold snaps before I had a chance to enjoy them (but not before I took their picture). Daffodils and one hyacinth are blooming now in one spot near a stone wall, but it's in a place I hardly ever go so I forget about them!

In just the last few days the grass has really made an effort at turning green, but a couple weeks ago, little patches of clover like this one were all the green to be found.

Meanwhile, the trees (and shrubs) have been getting busy either flowering or budding out. Among the first were the speckled alder (Alnus incana) catkins. The long, caterpillar-like ones are the male catkins (flowers), the round pine-coney ones are last year's female catkins, and the tiny, knobs that you can't really see in the picture are this year's female catkins. A couple of weeks ago, you could shake an alder branch and see orange clouds of pollen billow away. Today when I shook a branch, all the male catkins fell off. Their work is done and now it's up to the pollinated female ones to incubate their seeds.

One of the first trees to flower is the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). Fuzzy little catkins worm out of resinous bud scales early in the spring. These mostly grow at the very tops of the trees and I took out my zoom lens to get some pictures (and to get some practice using that lens).

 Another early budder is the red maple (Acer rubrum), so-named because of its red buds.

And, of course, the pussy willows (Salix spp.). I almost didn't catch these before they'd fully unfurled from their single bud scale.

One of the most exciting buds to see are the lilacs, my favorite flower. Ours have been very slow to bloom since I planted them (14 years ago!!) and are a little stingy with flowers (I think they might not get enough sun), but I always hold out hope for a profusion of blossoms.

We saw these little flowers on one of our hikes this weekend: beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta).

Here's one of last year's fruits that give this shrub its name.

Another exciting site we've had this spring is bald eagles. We've seen a pair or more on several occasions, flying right above our house. We're hoping that they are getting ready to nest down by our river and that we'll see more of them over the summer.


  1. It is always interesting to see what grows in different parts of the world. We have Alder here too but it must have its roots in water is that true for yours too? My lilac is the same as yours we inherited the plant when we moved into our house 13 years ago it was a substantial plant even then. Some years it hardly flowers and others it flowers in profusion I haven't worked out why yet........

    1. Alder likes wet areas here, too, but we have some growing in dry areas as well. I hope this year is a profuse lilac year!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...