While the April sun is full of strength and warms the
earth as it rises, the garden is still very brisk on a cloudy morning in early
stages of spring. The wind whistles through the trees and bamboo, the birds
sing throughout the canopy, and the saturated earth squishes with every step. As
I walk along the garden path, the marks of spring are visible everywhere. The trees
and shrubs, who have been in a deep slumber, are starting to stir. Most buds on
the woody plants have begun to swell and fill with color, and some have even
opened to give the forest its first speckling of green.
There seems to be a pattern among the first woodies
that have decided to wake up, and it makes total sense. The lilacs all seem to follow
a similar morning routine, with the Common (Syringa
vulgaris), Pubescent (S. pubescens)
and Japanese Tree Lilacs (S. reticulata)
all in the early stages of leafing out. The buds of the Common and Pubescent
Lilacs have begun to open and a small portion of the flower is visible. The
Japanese tree lilacs have yet to open, but the buds have swollen to three times
their dormant size, and the bud scales have receded to show infant leaves ready
to expand and grow.
A number of viburnums are enjoying the warming world
as well. The Double File (V. plicatum),
Siebold, (V. sieboldii) and Linden
viburnums (V. dilatatum) are all
beginning to unfold their newborn foliage, while the Dawn Viburnum (×
bodnantense ‘Dawn’) is in full bloom, as it is one of the
earliest viburnum to do so. Small leaves have begun to emerge at end of the
stem and the base of the flower, giving the blooms good company. On the Double
File, the buds have split apart to reveal a pair of folded young leaves taking
in their first sunlight, while the large buds of Sieboldii can no longer contain
the several leaves once neatly packed inside.
Other plants such as the flowering crabapple, honey suckle and multiflora rose have also broken bud, and the resilient red maples are in full flower. Some of you may have seen magnolias flowering throughout the state, but our Star Magnolia here at Blithewold has yet to unleash its beauty. Every day, the process continues, and more and more plants will awaken from hibernation.
If you get a chance, go for a walk through your yard
or around the block, and take a closer look at the ever changing plant world
during this special time of year.