Earth Week in All Its Glory

This is our green cut leaf japanese maple, just leafing out. The red on it are the flowers and seedheads.  This tree is just spectacular four seasons of the year, from now, when it leafs out, through summer,when it forms a soft green waterfall, into fall when it blazes orange and into winter when we have its beautiful branch structure to look at.  And despite the fact that it is not native, the birds enjoy its dense canopy as protection from predators.

It is, of course, wrong to presume that wildlife can know anything about us–or even that we can really know too much about them.  But this guy (?) must know that The Spoiler is deathly afraid of snakes because he’s taken to hanging out next to the Spoiler’s truck every afternoon.  And he’s not shy about posing for photos either, unlike most of the rest of the snakes we’ve had in the past.

There’s no point in showing the whole tree–it was too badly damaged in last October’s storm.  But not so badly damaged that it can’t still bloom of course.  And magnolias are fast growing trees.  I grew this variety, ‘Butterflies’, from a 1 gallon container, 12 years ago.  It’s now 15′ tall–or it was before last October’s storm.  I have every confidence that it can recover again.

{Notice the soil like dust beneath the tree–normally we don’t mulch because in our heavy clay it just encourages nasty fungi and rot.  But Connecticut is in severe drought right now–and even my heavy clay is dust!}

I always think of goldfinch as “summer” birds.  I have them all winter, but the males are sort of a drab olive-y color–much like the females look year round.  So when the males turn back to their bright yellow plumage, I think “summer’s here!”  It is, of course, a lot more complicated than that, having to do with length of day and diet–but no need to go into that here.  Much better just to think happy thoughts!

The October storm was particularly hard on our native dogwoods, cornus florida.  But those that survived, however maimed, have bloomed even more abundantly than usual this year.  This is a common adaptation in plants to stress:  when shocked they produce an abundance of seeds and fruit to reproduce themselves.  This tree isn’t so badly damaged that it won’t survive.  But there are many other putting on a great show that probably will not be back next year, particularly coupled with the drought this year.

This is my neighbor’s lilac in full bloom.  In normal years, it blooms around Mother’s Day.  In early years, it might be a week earlier.  This year, I took this photo on April 20.  That’s a full 3 weeks early, perhaps four.  Absolutely crazy–but still lovely.

Connecticut Arbor Day is Monday April 30th.  I still have an abundance of trees in my yard–and for whatever reason, the towns and utilities seem bent on clear-cutting them all over the place after our October storm.  To combat this silliness, and to take some of the carbon we humans produce out of the air, do consider planting a tree somewhere, in a responsible place, where it won’t impact the utilities in the next storm, won’t you?

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