Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Sad Contrast

Here's what the Red Maple tree (Acer rubrum) in front of my house looked like a year ago:  full of brilliantly colored pistillate flowers that blazed against a springtime sky.

And here's what that same tree looks like today, gray against that springtime blue sky, the sidewalk beneath littered with dropping flowers that have been blackened by the hard freeze we had a week or so ago.

There will be no rosy-red seeds produced this year, since all the flowers have died.  I wonder if this is how climate change will drive our maples north.  It wasn't the cold that killed those flowers, but rather the early and unseasonable warmth this year that caused those flowers to emerge too soon, making the tender blossoms vulnerable when sub-freezing temperatures returned.  So sad!  I do love that rosy bloom on the hillsides this time of year.

Ah well, to console myself, I went out and found some beautiful signs of new life among the maples.

The newly opening leaves of Red Maple looked like a flock of colorful birds perched on the twigs.

Late in the day, as the sun declined, it lit up these baby Red Maple leaves like stained glass.

The plump velvety buds of Striped Maple caught the light and glowed like pearls in the woods.


The Furry Gnome said...

That's exactly what happened to the apple harvest three years ago here. Two weeks of ridiculously warm weather in mid-March and the apple trees bloomed. A normal late April frost killed them off and cut the harvest by 90%.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Yes, Furry Gnome, we expect that occasional frost-kill with apples, a non-native species that did not evolve to tolerate northern climes. But Red Maples are native to the north and have been genetically equipped to deal with our weather vagaries. Up until now. This weather is proving mortal to many early-blooming tree flowers. No flowers, no seeds. No seeds, no new growth.