Friday, April 23, 2010

Springtime pics

On a brighter note, the last two weeks have been extraordinarily colorful. Here are some pics from my Dad's yard/garden, which I basically act as a caretaker for. First, the trees. The weeping cherry peaked almost two weeks ago, when I took these photos:

Weeping cherry from two angles.

From underneath

Closeup of flowers

The other "tree" flowering now is a magnolia, but it is really more like a shrub.

Earlier this week, taken at the bottom of a slope -
it's actually barely taller than I am. Note the fading weeping cherry in the background.

Closeup of magnolia flowers.

These two trees are artificially bred varieties. There is at least one type of "wild" tree in the yard that puts on a nice display of flowering color - the red maple (Acer rubrum). Unlike most maples which rely entirely on wind to spread their pollen, the red maple uses the services of insects as well as the wind. Therefore, it produces colorful (though small) red flowers.

Red maple flowers almost 4 weeks ago.

Thousands of these small red flowers give the whole tree a distinct reddish tint that sets it apart from all other tree species in the area in the spring.

This sort of shows the reddish tint.

Red maples don't wait long after flowering to make their seeds. While other maples take until summer or fall to mature their seeds, the red maples have developed their seeds over the last 3 weeks or so, and will be ready to start dropping them all over the place come May.

The leaves are just coming out, but the seeds are almost mature.

As the red maples go through their accelerated flowering, seed development, and leafing out, the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) right next to them has barely started to poke either its leaves or flowers out. It won't drop its seeds until late summer or early fall. Still, time is ultimately on the side of the sugar maple, which on average grows taller and lives more than twice as long as the red maple.

Right: red maple; Left: sugar maple (ignore the pine behind it)

The sugar maple is the leading source of maple sugar (Duh!),
but you can get it from red maples as well - you just need a lot more sap
to get the same amount of sugar.

Next - Crocus, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths; or, early spring flowers that aren't attached to trees and shrubs.


catmint said...

Hi RPS, thank you for commenting on my bird post. Our blackbirds certainly don't have red bits on their wings. This is my first visit to your blog and I really like it. I hope gardening and blogging help you to be happy. Cheers, catmint

RPS77 said...

Thank you, catmint. Yes, the red-winged blackbirds are pretty distinctive in appearance, at least if you can see them from the right angle. Most of our birds tend to be less colorful than those in warmer climates, but there are some exceptions. I'll be posting more garden and bird pics soon.