Thursday, May 3, 2012

First Pink

Pomologists name the various stages of budding out for the blossoming apple trees. Today I noted the "first pink" stage in the most advanced cluster of Liberty blossoms. In a year that still looks as if there won't be very many blossoms, Liberty's annual bearing habit is welcome. I took a picture of the "first pink" stage (left) and predict that despite the warm early spring, the blossoming (such as it is) will come at the usual time, on account of the recent cooler weather. I did find a few blossoms on the Prima tree, but it's an off-year for this one, as it is for most of the ones on this land. I recall reading somewhere, years ago, that after a winter unkind to producing blossoms, the trees had a tendency all to go on the same off-on biennial cycle, which was not desirable--it meant a large harvest one year (too large for me) and then a paucity the next.  

In the orchard at this time of year, before the grass and weeds grow up, wild strawberries blossom. Some years I can find them before the birds and other creatures do, and they are quite delicious, confirming what Thoreau said about the superior taste of wild fruit over the domesticated kinds. In the photo at left, the yellow pollen is visible; in the background, another strawberry blossom (blurred in the photo) is just opening up. The earliest flowers, Thoreau wrote in his journal, were the simplest or most primitive in structure, blooming (he wrote) in the least likely places; but apart from the skunk cabbages that is not the case hereabouts. On my daily walk I saw one or two quaker ladies (the flowers), the vanguard of what will be a ground cover for a few weeks along the road soon enough. Leaves of other flowering plants are pushing up now, also. The warblers seem to be in retreat at the moment--the cooler weather may be holding them back. I'd hoped to hear the hermit thrush this week but will probably have to wait until Sunday when it's supposed to warm up. I'm hoping to get a good recording--and Sunday evening is a good time to try, as there'll be less noise from motorboats and other vehicles in the far distance.

The skunk cabbages continue growing in the night (photo above; compare with the photo from April 30). Thoreau remarked in his journal at the end of April in 1852 that he saw skunk cabbage leaves six inches across. Most of those that I see are not that far advanced, but I did take a picture of one that had flattened out from its curl and was about nine inches across, this afternoon (right). 

Creative Commons License
This work (all photos) by Jeff Titon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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