Leafing Out

– Posted in: Garden chores, Weather, What's up/blooming

image of trees in full budWe are on the cusp. We balance for this one moment–these few short days–at the place of middle spring.

The grass has greened, but the trees have not yet burst into full leaf. It is fascinating to look at the hillside and see how different varieties progress. In some places bare wooden branches stick up, rimmed with the red of buds. I think these are red maples, so called because of their red buds at spring. Other trees on the hillside provide a sprinkle of pale green, not yet leafed out, but prepared and ready, almost there. The poplars seem especially eager to leaf out, as well as some other varieties of maples. The ragged emptiness of winter branches is almost gone and the vigor of new spring life sits just on edge, ready to burst forth. It is life barely contained.

image of Juneberry tree blooming photo taken by Cadie on May 1, 2006The early spring flowers have bloomed, snow drops and crocuses long gone, forsythia gone, the daffodils going. The hillside for this brief moment in spring is marked with the brilliant white highlights of juneberry trees. The profusion of their whiteness is almost startling set against the barrenness of the rest of the hillside. It is as if snow has returned to settle on a few trees. This, too, passes quickly. The accents of color that seem most striking in evening have already begun to fade, most of the flowers gone, the rest going. I’m sorry I never got up to the woods to appreciate them more in person.

Spring goes faster than I do. Spring is always rushing from one fleeting show to another, the petals of one bunch of flowers having scarcely come to rest on the ground before the next are bursting out.

There is more to come. In a few weeks the lilacs and apple trees will be in blossom, their fragrance matching their color. The trees will be in leaf, the hillside becoming a carpet of green. But not yet. We savor the coming, while spring has still not run all of its rushing course.

As is the nature of every year, spring will run its course quickly, summer going no slower in the parade of things growing and flowering. It is all like sitting down for a show where time seems to speed up (or vanish all together) so that it seems like you’ve no sooner sat down to enjoy then it is over and you are rising to your feet saying, “What? It’s done? I thought we just got started.” And then winter has arrived.

But for today it is middle spring, and I favor all of April and May for their many blossoming flowers, greening grass, leafing trees, and singing birds. I love the time of year when the weather is fair, the breeze cool, and the mosquitoes not yet here. It is a time when rains fall pleasantly, the ground is not baked hard, nor the days muggy and oppressive (not to mention the nights). We are in middle spring. Enjoy it while you can.image of trees in bud lit from the front

Then I look out the window and think, “Boy, the lawn needs mowing.”

Spring grass. Photo taken by Cadie on May 1, 2006

Originally posted on Letters from a Silverware Thief.

About the Author

At age fifteen, Rundy decided he wanted to write for his living. He is currently working on a novel, although it is not the novel he started at fifteen. When not working on the novel, he might be riding his bike, feeding his chickens, helping his neighbors, messing around with web design and computers in general, or writing on his blog, which discusses other topics in addition to gardening. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: fruits, vegetables, major landscaping, chickens and other poultry

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

nelumbo May 13, 2006, 5:12 pm

We are going out of town for long weekends a couple times this month…I’m fretting that my new transplants will not do well without frequent watering.

Kathy Purdy May 5, 2006, 9:59 am

I just want to say that Cadie took the photos, and if you let your cursor linger over a photo you will see that information provided. I went through all of Cadie’s recent photos and chose ones that I thought fit Rundy’s writing.

jenn May 5, 2006, 9:41 am

Hi Rundy! Thanks for the great photos!

I love to watch the subtle show of leaf and flower that the trees put on in spring. It’s terribly under-reported. Lovely essay.

Chan S. May 5, 2006, 7:20 am

A post as beautiful as this year’s spring.

Kathy Purdy May 4, 2006, 2:57 pm

I don’t have any tulips that bloom before the grape hyacinths do. What early tulips do you have planted? My tulips are just starting–before this just daffodils.

Alice Nelson May 4, 2006, 12:28 pm

You’re ahead of us. Our early tulips are still in bloom, middle tulips in full swing, the siberian squill just going, the grape hyacinths just budding. The juneberry trees (sugar plum, shadbush) are not in bloom yet. Looking ahead – if you haven’t tried sugar plum jelly you should.

Cynthia May 4, 2006, 9:30 am

The pictures in this post accentuate the expressive word pictures. They weren’t included in the “Letters from a Silverware Thief.” Thanks for including them.