Monday, March 26, 2012

More Blooming Shrubs

The shrubs at Blue Jay Barrens really took advantage of the week of warm weather we just had.  Redbud flower buds were just beginning to color and swell a week ago.  Now they’re in full bloom.

Redbuds are the most colorful of the spring blooming shrubs and are a valuable nectar source for some butterflies and larger bees.  The flower shape makes it difficult for many of the smaller insects to access the nectar.

Fragrant Sumac flowers are normally available at the same time as the Redbuds and are much more insect friendly.  I see a greater diversity of insects visiting these flowers than any other spring blooming plant.

Serviceberry is known for its early blooms, but it’s blooming a full month earlier than it did last year.  I’m wondering what will happen to some of these shrubs if we manage to get a hard freeze this spring.  Freeze warnings have been posted for Tuesday morning, so I guess we’ll be having the first test really soon.

These are Prickly Ash flowers in full bloom.  If you get close enough to the bush to see these flowers, you’ll most likely get snagged on one of the many thorns that give Prickly Ash its name.

Other shrubs are making rapid progress, but have not yet reached the bloom stage.  The bracts have folded away from the Flowering Dogwood flower buds.  These flowers should be blooming by next week.

The bracts will continue to enlarge and lighten in color until they create a brilliant white frame to the cluster of small flowers.  The showy bracts are what create the impressive display.

Black Haw is producing clusters of flower buds and won’t be far behind the dogwoods in blooming.  It seems that spring is rushing past too quickly to enjoy everything. Last year at this time we had only been snowless for a couple of weeks and were enjoying the arrival of more moderate temperatures.  This year it feels like we’re already pushing into summer. 

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