Thursday, April 2, 2009
I find everything about plants pretty amazing, from tiny seeds to gigantic trees hundreds of years old. But buds must be close to the top of the list of botanical wonders, and spring is the perfect time to really appreciate them. Buds are tightly wrapped packages of tiny leaves or flowers. Many plants make buds before the winter, and somehow these tiny living things have to survive extreme winter temperatures, snow, ice and wind before emerging perfectly fresh and unfazed at the start of spring.
And buds are not only tough, they're often beautiful, and always interesting. Many people are familiar with big furry magnolia buds, which hang on to magnolia trees and shrubs all winter. We saw a magnolia last weekend with buds at least 3 inches long. The delicate furriness is a protection mechanism – it traps heat and insulates the deeper layers of the bud.
Flower buds on cherry trees are getting bigger every day. This picture was taken more than two weeks ago at our community farm where there are 22 varieties of cherry trees I can't wait to gorge on in the summer.
I especially love the moment when little leaves start to emerge from the bud. Perfectly fresh and green, almost transparent and incredibly complex. It’s ironic that these most delicate of leaves have to survive much harsher conditions than mature leaves later in the season.