Yesterday the kwanza cherries were incandescent,
This pair of oaks in front of their fence is perfectly illustrative of the arrested development to be seen everywhere this spring.
This is a trend that is not going in a good direction, at all. I believe the decline of trees from volatile organic compounds in the air and acid rain began decades ago - but the sudden, rapid acceleration of visible symptoms of poisoning is much more recent, and advancing algorithmically.
There are so many trees with bare branches it is just plain scary, and at this rate they will all soon be stone dead.
Across the parking lot, trees struggle valiantly to leaf out.
On top of being often altogether absent, another trend is for what foliage has emerged to be thin and weak.
Branches are droopy. Clusters of leaves are starting to fall already - if last year is an indication, I expect to see many fall to the ground in the coming weeks.
This maple exhibits a site that is common this year - very heavy seed production by deciduous trees, so that their crowns from afar are hazy shades of pinks, oranges, and yellows. It has made for an unusual palette in the landscape.
When a tree favors seeds over foliage, it is a sign of decline, just as the conifers have been overproducing cones for the last two years.
This morning the sky was pure cerulean.
These maple seeds are a peachy color, and the leaves aren't so much green as yellow.
Here is a colorful tree of seeds.
Another oddity is that many trees still have lingering seeds and leaves from last year. It takes vigor to shed them, and these trees are just about out of energy...they are unable to produce more because ozone damages their stomata.
Trees weakened by toxic greenhouse gases fall victim to opportunistic fungus, bacteria, and insects, much as AIDS victims will die from any common infection. Foresters in Britain are apparently as flummoxed as their American counterparts - "mysterious" bacteria is killing trees! oh my! This is a very important article which demonstrates that 1. all sorts of different tree species are dying and 2. there aren't any foresters who know why. I will write to members of the British Forestry Association to advice them they should consider the composition of the atmosphere, who will then almost certainly ignore me.
And fungus is the likely cause of cankers...but there is a much broader agent making trees susceptible to these existential threats - and vulnerable to lichens as well. Why am I the only one cursed with hearing the silent screams of trees??
Even though it's obviously going to die - I mean, it's flat on the ground! - it is showing more life than the tree still standing behind it. My point? Even though some trees are putting out leaves in an admirable show of bravado, they are all dying. Whatever the mechanism that is depriving them of the ability to photosynthesize and produce chlorophyll, it is only going to worsen as people refuse to consider an urgent need to stop burning coal, gasoline, oil, and ethanol.
I didn't find any, of course. I didn't find any last year, or the year before - although the year before that there were so many I was giving them to local chefs in exchange for free restaurant meals! Sound familiar? It's the same thing the trees do - excessive fruiting, pine cone or seed production. I did find lots of jack-in-the-pulpits though. This grouping looks like they are having a conversation.
The May Apples are blooming, in April!
In order to see the hidden blossom, you have to crouch down and peer underneath the leaves that are like little umbrellas.
Wild honeysuckle is perfuming the wetlands.
I love its pale delicacy.
The wisteria on the porch is glorious,
while on the other side, the grapevine is already making tiny clusters.
This is blackhaw viburnum, a native shrubby tree not quite neat enough for a garden and not as elegant a pure white as the dogwood.
Here is dogwood this morning, in brilliant sun:
The bracts seem to float as though they are weightless.
Lilacs are their peak weeks earlier than they should be.
My little copper beech, that I planted a few years ago with great anticipation that it would outlive me by several centuries, flops sadly in the breeze.
The neighbor has a spring-fed pond. Decades ago the gentleman who lived there had it excavated to look like a heart from the vantage of the dining room window, as a surprise for his wife when they returned from a holiday in Europe. Wasn't that sweet?