Our kid is sick, I’m stuck at home, and it’s too cold and wet to sit in the yard. But, I have been able to get out for two neighborhood walks.
Here is my report for Earth Day:
Saw confirmation the Osage Orange tree we drive past every is a boy. I’m still learning the gender spectrum of tree species: some are male, some are female, some are both. Some have “perfect” flowers with male and female bits, and some trees can surprise you with twigs that morph into one or the other. Osage Orange trees are dioecious: either male or female (usually), and now I know not to expect fruit from this particular specimen. These flowers are male:
No sitting on the porch with a teacup today: falling flowers flit past the brim despite my hand as cover.
This is one of those milestones of spring easily missed, especially if you don’t happen to live or walk or park under a Sugar Maple.
I love this moment. It helps make up for the maple flowers leaving, and the maple leaves coming. If I pay attention to all the steps—from bud to budburst to flower to leaf to fruit—spring feels slower, more manageable, less panicked. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Maple Flower Flurries”→
Once upon a time, a new grass appeared in the yard. At first, I thought the narrow leaves were wild onion, but they didn’t taste oniony. They didn’t look oniony, either, not on closer inspection: each wore a silvery line down the middle of the green.
Later, when these mystery leaves began to yellow, a flower stalk emerged. It was staggered with green and white striped buds. Exquisite! Then, the buds bloomed into white, six-petaled flowers even more exquisite. It was Ornithogalum umbellatum L.: Star of Bethlehem.
There are swaths of yellow right now in Elmington Park: small yellow blooms massed in the lawn. I hope the city doesn’t mow soon, because the yellow is Nashville mustard—our mustard—and it needs to go to seed and spread. I saw it on the way to Hebrew School, and as soon as I could, I went back and parked the car in the lot, then parked my body flat on the grass.
To me, this particular “spring ephemeral” is as welcome as a wildflower. It is a sign of the season: a “cedar apple,” doing its wacky thing in wet spring weather. This one is on our volunteer red-cedar tree in the front yard, and I’ve been waiting for the rusty, dry galls to wake from winter. Continue reading “Cedar Apple”→
Catalpas are in full bloom in Nashville. These are the big trees with leaves like giant hearts; with flowers like white, ruffled bells; and pretty soon, with dangling pods like green cigars. Hearts, bells, cigars. Catalpas bring out the similes. Continue reading “Catalpa flowers”→
Holy pollen, I’ve lived next door to a white pine for years and hadn’t noticed the flowers till today. Now is prime bloom time, so where is your nearest white pine? Surely there is one, or a dozen close by. They are natives here, but are widely planted as ornamentals and living privacy fences. Gated communities adore them because they screen out the riffraff 365 days a year, except when the riffraff comes to mow. Continue reading “White Pine “Flowers””→