Monday, March 13, 2017

Winter Returns

Did I say I was missing winter?  Well, we got some winter, after all: a whole string of days with morning temps around zero (F.).  And now we're about to get slammed with more snow than we've had in years. Forecasts are calling for up to two feet, and with winds gusting to 50 miles per hour. Tomorrow.  I think I'll stay home tomorrow.

But I did go for a walk in the Skidmore woods today.  Folks not too far south of Saratoga had been reporting they heard Spring Peepers already, but I don't think they've been singing here yet. Especially now that the woodland ponds have frozen over again.  This Skidmore pond is a hotbed for froggy amours (both Wood Frogs and Peepers), but the action sure hasn't started here yet.

Sometimes, even while winter still lingers,  I find the fur-covered flower buds of Hepatica peeking out from a nest of last year's leaves.  But not a trace of them did I find today.  The leaves were pretty, though.  It's amazing how well they winter over, even when not protected by deep snow.

I hurried along to the part of the trail I know to be edged with Leatherwood shrubs, wondering if the deer had decimated them once again.  But look!  New budding twigs have sprouted from last year's browsing damage.  Maybe because we had so little snow this year (so far!), the deer didn't have to come in from the country to browse in the Skidmore woods.

Leatherwood is just about our earliest shrub to flower, but I don't think that this year it's going to bloom as early as the one in the photo below, taken on March 21, 2012.  Its typical bloomtime is mid-April, in most years.

Examining twigs of other shrubs and understory trees, I didn't find many with buds beginning to swell.  Well, maybe these Striped Maple buds are a little bit bigger than they were in January.  I love the color of Striped Maple buds and the pale narrow bracelets circling the ruddy twigs.

Maybe this Basswood bud is a wee bit bigger than it was last fall.  Basswood twigs can be quite rosy, and its buds are a bit lop-sided, just as its almost-but-not-quite-heart-shaped leaves will be.

Aha!  I did find ONE shrub that a week of unseasonably warm weather had tricked into sprouting. These are the unfolding compound leaves of Red-berried Elder.  With their slightly shriveled leaves, they look as if they might be regretting trying to jump the season.


Woody Meristem said...

Spring came early down here, but today winter has returned with 15" of snow by 10:30 am and still falling -- it's headed your way. Next week the temperature is supposed to be in the 50s again, so the snow won't last long.

The Furry Gnome said...

We had a week of spring, snow all gone, and now it's back to winter. The big storm missed us, but it's been -15C for nearly a week now!