Buds spring to life

Have you seen it? The tree buds are swelling, heading towards the emergence of leaves and flowers. Just today I saw, on the black birch saplings in the yard, bits of green between the brown bud scales, as the underlying tissue begins to expand.

Two days ago, I noticed the slight darkening of pink patches on the mountainside, a sign that red maple buds are fattening as their crimson flowers prepare to burst open.

It was perhaps a week ago that I looked up at the elm branches reaching over the road and saw that the buds were nearly spherical. Elm flowers are among the first to pop, although their floppy little green floral parts are mostly unnoticed until a storm knocks them to the ground. Then we wonder what are those messy blobs on the pavement! But many tree flowers are innocuous and green, as they are wind-pollinated.

Sugar maple bud

It’s the insect-pollinated plants that invest in color and scent to attract the vehicles of their reproduction. Soon we will see the white blossoms of the shadbush, although I’m not sure what insects are around so early to attend to the shadbush and red maple.

The silky hairs will emerge from the willow buds, and the box elder buds will grow fat, white, and fuzzy.

Striped maple buds

If you are impatient for spring to arrive, now is the time to start observing the tree buds. You can watch spring’s changes occur, step by step and day by day, each species in its own style, color, and pattern. And they are extraordinarily beautiful.

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