SPRING IS HERE!

Actually NEAR, but I wanted to draw you all in.  This was the view out the window of my house Sunday morning :

P1090438Trying to fight off major SAD, I thought I’d lay out a photo display of what we are all waiting for, beginning in a few weeks and running into April.  I’m focusing on flora, but can’t resist a few birds as well. I took all of these images in the Arnold Arboretum in recent years.

When the snow abates, we will see evidence of spring on the ground and in the trees, even in February.  Here is a very early example:

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Skunk Cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus. True to it’s latin name, the flower (seen left below) puts out a fetid odor; attracting ground beetles that act as pollinators while bees are dormant.

Pussy Willows begin to show themselves in February as well. Here is one type:

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Rosegold Pussy Willow Salix gracilistyla

And here is a neat black form, also found along Meadow Road in the Arboretum:

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Salix gracilistyla var. melanostachys

Even more typical flowering plants can bloom in February.  I took this image on this very date in 2012.  I hope it isn’t in flower today!

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Japanese Apricot Prunus mume in the Rose Garden

The landscape can be quite altered in spring.  This is what Faxon Pond looked like on April 1, 2010

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Heavy spring rains caused major flooding of the man-made ponds at the Arboretum in 2010. With all this snow we could have a repeat this year.

These next bulbs incorporate snow in their common names, hinting at their early display:

G of Snow  Chionodoxa #2

Glory of the Snow Chionodoxa sps.

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Snowdrops Galanthus sps.

Soon some of the lawns below Bussey Hill will look like this:

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Crocus sps. on the lawn below Bussey Hill

The earliest migrating birds appear in the cattail marsh along Meadow Road in February.

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Male Red-winged Blackbirds establishing territory in the marsh.

But it will take at least another month for this beauty to show itself!

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Male Eastern Bluebird, preening

By April, many flowering trees will erupt into bloom.  Maples are not known for their floral display, but up close their early blooms can be spectacular:

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Silver Maple Acer saccharinum

Another April bloomer, with tiny but magnificent flowers, can be seen beyond the Tilia collection along Meadow Road:

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Japanese Cornel Dogwood Cornus officinalis

This early March flowering shrub was cloned at the Arnold Arboretum in 1928, and was given the name “Arnold Promise:

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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ in bloom on March 2, 2002.

Here is it’s lovely flower close up:

H. x intermedia "Arnold Promise

Another early bloomer, fragrant as is the Witch Hazel above, is the Spicebush:

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Japanese Spicebush Lindera obtusiloba, showing it’s handsome bark as well as it’s inflorescence.

Early spring can bring out beauty in emerging leaves as well; here are two examples:

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Mountain Ash Sorbus sp. near Dawson Pond

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Fragrant Winterhazel Corylopsis glabrescens

At the Rose Garden, April really brings in the color:

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Formosan Cherry Prunus‘Okame’

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Tokyo Cherry Prunus X yedoensis

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Sargent Cherry Prunus Sargentii

All those blossoms bring out the insects:

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Honeybee on clethra sps.

Which bring in the birds:

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Yellow Warbler, male

Can spring be that far away?  My spring series of bird walks will begin on Saturday April  18th beginning at the main gate at 8AM.  See the AA website for more information.

In the meantime, stay warm!