Tag Archives: Eastern Red Columbine

Tulip tree blooms for Project Budburst

tulip-tree in early May 2009

tulip-tree in early May 2009

I completed my Project Budburst observations for 2009 when my tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) bloomed in my wooded piece of Connecticut.  This, along with my other observations – first bloom of the common dandelion (mid-April), as well as Eastern Red Columbine and Jack-in-the-pulpit (early May) – are now listed with thousands of others at the Project Budburst website.  Phenologists use these data to build nationwide information about plant habits and climate change.
Tulip-tree-in-bloom

Tulip-tree-in-bloom

I have one, treasured tulip tree in the woods behind my house that first bloomed about May 31.  Unless you have a tulip tree in a prominent area or frequently walk under one in the woods, you may not see their waxy, tropical-looking blossoms until they drop from the tips of the often 60 feet high branches.  This year other commitments kept me so busy that I nearly missed catching the yellow-orange hand-sized blossoms swaying in the treetop.  If you look closely in the photo above, you can pick out the orange at the base, yellow at the rim, cupped flowers facing upward as if waiting for dew to collect in their base.  It’s not easy to capture these flowers on film – as my amateur photo shows – but one watchful photographer luckily caught a perfect tulip tree bloom after it fell to the ground.

But back to Project Budburst, which is a great project for getting kids and budding gardeners involved in nature watching.  The website provides printable Identification Guides of native shrubs, trees, wildflowers, herbs, and grasses – with photos – making identification easy for everyone, no matter their age.

My participation renewed my interest in watching for native vegetation … what have your Project Budburst observations taught you?

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Filed under Gardening, General, Project BudBurst

Falling out of the doldrums

How does a self-professed gardening nut crack the doldrums of still another bone-chilling, drizzly spring day?  First, by ignoring her long list of gardening to-dos and instead, taking notice of antics of two competing American robin pairs who have daily turf wars on and over the front lawn – one pair busily nest building in a rhododendron adjacent to the front porch and the other defending a longer-established nest in a side-yard mountain laurel.  The front lawn, situated between the two nests, serves as stage for daily red-breast to red-breast – who’s the better/stronger/bigger – male Olympics.  Meanwhile, the females busily collect any remaining strands of ornamental grass and fill their beaks with softer blades of brown lawn grass left over from heavy winter snows … flying back and forth, ground to nest, ignoring the territorial jousts that males only interrupt for worm-catching intermissions.

My doldrums further declined when I caught a brief glimpse of a Ruby-throated hummingbird – the first this season – slowing its fly-by only slightly, as it took stock of a hanging pot of pansies.

But when I headed outside – camera in hand, donning rain coat and my trusty pair of L. L. Bean water-proof slip-ons – the chilly, damp outside world opened its wonders … all I had to do was look.

Nearer the house, a patch of Lady’s Mantle collected raindrops in its leaves.

Lady's Mantle

Lady's Mantle

Newly opened blooms of white lilac caught the lens’ eye.

White lilac blossoms

White lilac blossoms

 Bright white Sweet Woodruff blossoms lit up the base of a red-twig dogwood.

Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff

In the nearby woods, the one and only, but highly prized Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis) had opened … siting, protected, under a long-ago fallen tree, thereby avoiding the trampling hoofs of wandering deer and any unintentional human stomps.
Eastern Red Columbine

Eastern Red Columbine

 Ferns unfurled, reaching fronds skyward.

 

unfurling ferns

unfurling ferns

Tiny May-apple leaves emerged from moss blankets.

 

May-apple and moss

May-apple and moss

I didn’t intend to get caught up in the misty quiet of a wet late afternoon … I actually went outside to grab a few Alpine strawberry photos, but these will hold for a future post.  Today belonged to unanticipated pleasures.

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Filed under Creatures, Gardening, General, Seasons