First Sign of Spring, aka Grasping at Straws

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Image of dormant trees on hillside showing red tinge

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Maybe you can’t see it (go ahead and click on the photo for a closer look), but my eyes can see that the trees on the hillside have a definite reddish cast to them. This is reckoned as the first sign of spring here in Purdyville, or more properly, the sign that enables us to hold on for the next month of rough weather, before spring really comes.

The reddish cast is from the buds swelling on the trees. Later, but still before the trees leaf out, the red maples (Acer rubrum) will bloom with red flowers, and their young, immature foliage can be brilliantly red as well, before maturing to green. I’m sure there are many red maples on the hillside, as well as a grove of larches, but it’s surely not all red maple. So right now, it’s just buds that give it that color. I bet I’ll be seeing maple syrup collection hoses before long.

This is the same hillside that was in its glory last fall, by the way.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

Comments on this entry are closed.

Kimberley Taylor March 12, 2008, 7:38 pm

Sugar on Snow!
Peppers and Tomatoes are going to start (starting) on Sunday.
The delights of anticipation are thawing my brain.

sherry March 8, 2008, 6:32 pm

Ahhh…that red is the fire you need to keep warm and to keep the hope up! The view is beautiful!

Curtis March 7, 2008, 10:40 am

I can see it as well and we are having the same thing here. The maple buds are swelling so spring is forthcoming.

Dee/reddirtramblings March 7, 2008, 7:48 am

I live in OK not so near to Curtiss Ann, and I’ve seen the reddish and purplish (from redbud trees) cast on some of the trees in OKC and Edmond. It give my heart a thrill and yet, I worry about them. We’ve got a lot of ups and downs between now and April 20, our last frost date. I hope my peaches, apples and cherries survive a late freeze.~~Dee

CurtissAnn March 6, 2008, 9:38 am

Just two days ago, while driving, I became convinced that I saw a red tinge here and a pale green tinge there in the tree limbs here in OK. We have a cold snap coming in for the next two days, but I have great hope this is the last. The rose bushes are leafing out, and I have heard the spring bird’s call. I’m sooo ready!

wiseacre March 6, 2008, 9:16 am

I can’t be too far behind but as of yet there is no sign of color but gray/brown on white. Maple Syrup season looks like a late start this year. At least we had record snowfall for the year, if temps cooperate it should be a good syrup season. We should be having temps in the low 30s but old man winter isn’t letting go yet.

Jane Marie March 6, 2008, 8:54 am

I’m so glad you showed us the picture with the hint of red. I could see it! That means it will be moving my way soon. Thank you!

Kathy Purdy March 6, 2008, 8:39 am

I thank you all for your–hmm, sympathy’s not quite the right word. Empathy, maybe? Only another gardener in tune with plants would understand how much plants have to tell us.

Annie in Austin March 6, 2008, 12:06 am

Nine winters in Texas have not made me forget the way every individual twig suddenly seems thicker and the whole tree or shrub looks more opaque as spring approaches… it’s real Kathy!! Those trees are thinking about spring.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Pam/Digging March 5, 2008, 11:32 pm

I can see it! I wait desperately for red tinges in trees too, Kathy, but in late summer, not late winter.

kerri March 5, 2008, 11:04 pm

Yes, yes….I see it Kathy! I noticed the same thing in our woods a while back, and there have actually been red buds on the maple by our driveway for quite a while. Remember when we had that warm weather back in early February? We noticed them then. I hope they haven’t been damaged.
But spring’s a’coming….we’re going to make it!

Muum March 5, 2008, 10:11 pm

I know what you mean, I am on the lookout for the first hint of yellow-green color to the weeping willows that I see in the area. I know winter won’t last forever when I see that. (who said weeping willows were useless?) just kidding!

MA March 5, 2008, 9:50 pm

I can see the red! I can I can I can! Hope springs eternal in a gardener’s heart~!

Thank you for the wonderful Chihuly article. It came last week when I had been sidelined for several days in bed with the flu. Great reading! and just what the doctor ordered.

David Perry March 5, 2008, 8:10 pm

Sweet. I can see that red is the color of hope.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter March 5, 2008, 8:00 pm

Huzzah! Break out the champagne.

CJ March 5, 2008, 7:16 pm

I can see the tinge! And it’s not just because I live in northern NY and am willing to agree to anything which includes the approach of spring. I’ve begun to see the subtle little changes myself. They’re small but if you know what your looking for you can find the tiniest flickers of spring beginning…I hope. Soon. Before I cry.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens March 5, 2008, 6:56 pm

That reddish tint is like tying a knot at the end of your rope, isn’t it? Now you have hope, now you can hang on a little longer while those of us in “warmer” climates start to post pictures of our crocuses.