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Flowers and Trees for May Day

May 1st, 2008

A break in the wet weather these last few days has really helped with getting some work finished. And we actually had a frost a couple days ago- I was concerned about the flowers and trees. But we lucked out and the only damage was to our tomato plants in the garden. And they were covered?! They’ll still grow from the bottom, but the tops were frostbitten in just a few hours.

The flowers and leaves coming out on the trees are amazing, so Happy May Day! The oak trees are almost finished blooming… not something we think about often perhaps, but the flowers, or catkins of this Red Oak tree hang downward shedding a great deal of pollen. The trees sort of shine or sparkle with reds and yellows as the new leaves emerge. This should be a strong year for acorns, and next year as well. And all the critters should have a strong year too as population cycles swing up and down based on the forage available.

Red Oak tree catkins in spring

Speaking of trees- the Festival of the Trees will be up today and hosted by 10,000 Birds. What a wonderful site, thanks for hosting the festival! Birds have been a passion of mine since youth. I’m waiting to see if the beautiful Summer Tanagers that came by last year will return. I’m not sure where they nest, but they didn’t remain here long. Like the Orioles they seem to pass by on their way to somewhere else. But we have too many wasps around, and the Tanagers can help with that. Now after I get my bees I may feel a little differently… ;)

The wildflowers continue to bloom too, and it seems this year there are more flowers than ever. Maybe from all the rain? Or maybe just my excitement for the season.

I like the colorful blues that Wild Phlox and Birdsfoot Violet provide to the understory. They come and go so quickly it seems, and next week the Bloodroot and May Apples should be flowering.

Wild Phlox flowers

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Birdsfoot Violet

I still haven’t found any morels, but maybe it’s just an off year. One of the cub scout families took a class with a “morel expert” and they walked the landscape for an entire day not finding a single one! He said that in very wet years, the morels will grow underground more. Of course we were hiking last weekend and the guy in front of me found a nice white morel on the side of the trail…

3 Responses to “Flowers and Trees for May Day”

  1. Ed Abbeyon 02 May 2008 at 8:15 am

    I think I have read that morel spores grow into a round mass of some sort in the fall just a centimeter or two under the surface of the soil. The mass protects it against the winter and then gives it nutrients to grow in the spring. I don’t buy the growing underground theory. More likely than not, it just got to warm for them down there because once it gets up past 80 degrees for any length of time, they are done for the year.

    I haven’t found any but I haven’t had a chance to look. My parents on the other hand found a large mess of small gray morels on Wednesday evening. The live in the southern tier of Iowa counties. We have avoided the 80 degree temps so far so maybe our mushrooming season will amount to something. After picking up my brother from the airport on Saturday and taking him down to the farm, I aim to go look weather and time permitting.

  2. Beauon 02 May 2008 at 10:50 am

    Well that makes sense, never knew about the the little nutritive ball thingy… sneaky little suckers! I hope you get a chance to look- we’ve had a good bit of warm rain so I’ll try another time or two.

  3. Ed Abbeyon 02 May 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Here’s a good article on morels that I recently read:

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080416/NEWS03/804160376

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