In the meantime,
check out a native plant in full bloom:
Silver Maple trees.
If you have access to a first grader, ask them to show you a silver maple.
It is always the first tree to bloom in late winter, early spring.
And, with the great sense of humor and creativity of nature,
silver maples have separate male and female flowers on the same tree....
Some years, it's only male flowers,
some years female flowers.
Anyway, the thing you will see,
if you look up as you walk around the neighborhood today,
is a certain tree with bunches of flowers popping out, red, yellow and white,
usually way up high.
But look on the ground. Squirrels routinely prune these twigs for bits of fresh veggies. The flowers are on the parkway lawns, like Dr. Suess snickety switches. Hooray for first flowers. Find and draw. The plant is:
If you need more.
right now the catkins of American Hazelnut are extending from skinny one inch long sausages, into fat sausages 3-4 inches long, laden with pollen.
These are the "male" flowers of the species, called catkins. (ask you 1rst grader).
This dangling caterpillar is preparing to release millions of pollen grains, a great and profligate over reach. Still, it is amazing to see the pollen lofted by a breeze. There is a tiny female flower forming now, too,
on the same bush,
deep deep red, tiny as the d in red.
It will, if pollinated,
produce the gorgeous and outrageous seed pod and cluster that is American Hazelnut.
Draw now, and later, as the buds develop.
You might want to bring along a magnifying glass,
to see the tiny details,
never a disappointment.
We have other native plants that have separate male flowers, catkins:
and all the oaks.
European Alder also has these prodigious danglers.
Look for them along the bioswale on Campbell.
the first first plant up in my front yard looks just like tulip leaves,
but they are NOT!
They are Wild Leek,
If you are unsure,
nip a tiny piece of the leave and smell:
Wild leek is definitely onion:
sweet, sweet lovely onion.
At my house we harvest basketfuls of the leaves and cook them quickly, like spinach.
It is easy to grow and quick to spread.
The leaves come up in spring and die back quickly.
In late summer, the plant sends up a stalk with a spherical cluster of white blossoms, no more than 12 inches tall, in the dark understory.
These flowers in turn, transform into beautiful black pearls, the seeds.
Look! Contemplate. Draw. Get to know these community members,