Meet My Buds
A couple of recent posts from Heirloom Cottage Garden and New Hampshire Garden Solutions inspired me to go out into the garden and take pictures of the buds on our woody plants. Too late I realized that you’re supposed to have a special lens, which we don’t have, to take this kind of picture. Nevertheless, I did my best.
When you look closely at buds you are reminded that in winter plants are full of life, pent up and just waiting for the right moment to burst forth – like runners at a starting line up (though I imagine their knees get pretty uncomfortable while waiting for the race to start).
Above are buds on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). Spicebush blooms very early, before it leafs out, and I can imagine its little yellow flowers tightly wrapped under their covers, called the bud scales.
This is another early spring bloomer with yellow flowers, Forsythia (unknown variety).
These Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) buds look like they are ready to leaf out whenever they feel like it. Pretty much all the buds I’m showing in this post are called imbricate, which means they have three or more overlapping scales.
The purple color of the bud scales on this Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) hints at the flower color to come.
Now here’s a bud that looks like it’s wrapped up tight for winter – it’s not leafing out until it knows the coast is clear. This is an American Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus).
On a non-bud matter, over here is an embarrassing example of what happens when you stick a plant in an out-of-the-way place. This is an American Witch Hazel (Hamemelis virginiana). I have never seen it bloom! I just don’t get around to that part of the garden in late October or November. But I know it DOES bloom because the branches are full of open seed capsules, which look sort of like little yellow flowers.
Another thing about this Witch Hazel is that it holds onto its leaves through the winter. They turn a nice brownish red color.
Here are the buds on our Clove Current (Ribes odoratum). I like the cinnamon color of the stem.
This is Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana. It’s what we amateur botanists call A Very Pointy Bud.
And here’s a perky-looking bud on our ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ Rose.
There are days when I feel this whole “winter interest” thing is a scam, but that is churlish and ignorant on my part. The garden may seem boring during winter, but there are signs of life if you are willing to look closely.