Sunday, May 17, 2009

Apple Blossom Day!

From the UK, the Wildlife Volunteers Blog reports on a delightful day long event at the King's Lane Community Orchard, in celebration of the orchard in blossom, with music, games and traditional spring festivities. The BBC filmed the event as part of a program known as "Homes Under the Hammer!" which follows properties in danger of being developed. The community orchard has been opened as open public space and the community will be holding this event every year for the foreseeable future. Well done! This should ideally have been included in the Festival of the Tress, except that the event had not happened yet!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Festival of The Trees! Flowering and Blossoming Trees Edition

(my own photo from Brushwood, May 2008)

Today, May 1st, I celebrate the festival of Beltane, an ancient holiday originating in Europe. Its name means "fires of Bel" who is a sun god. We welcome the return of the sun's heat and light, reflected in the many blossoms and flowers around us. I am happy to say I am headed to my summer camping spot, the Brushwood Folklore Center, later today, to get my camp set up for summer and celebrate the holiday with friends, with a maypole, a bonfire, feasting and fun! (photo by Peg, 2008)

Beltane was originally a fertility festival, and what better inspiration for love and romance than a trees festooned in delicate, fragrant blossoms? These lovers in Kashmir, India have the right idea:
(originally at

Brushwood is blessed with many wild apple trees, and they all blossom in spring, with that fleeting, heavenly scent that simply can't be bottled and is all the more precious for being so temporary. (more beautiful Brushwood apple blossoms captured by me!)

I hope you will be able to see a blossoming orchard in your area this spring; it's always a heartening and magical sight to me. I saw hundreds upon hundreds of blossoming old apple trees as I was riding through the Hudson River Valley earlier today. Here closer to home, of course, are the wondrous orchards of Indian Ladders. The owner is planning to offer some heirloom varieties this year, like Fameuse, Old Smokehouse, and Chenango Strawberry, in addition to their bounty of Yellow Delicious, Jonathan, Empire, Mcintosh, Mutsu, and others.
(photo taken in spring 2007)

My partner and I ordered an heirloom apple tree (Summer Rose) from the mail order grower Trees of Antiquity that has been planted at Brushwood this month, near the spot where we got married last summer. We look forward to seeing that apple tree grow and blossom in many springs to come.

(another one I took in 2008)

To begin, we acknowledge the passing of winter. It was a long, cold one, followed here in the Northeast by several recents days in the high 80s and 90s, very unusual for April! Fortunately, though some gardens have seen their flowers get a bit crisp in the sun, the blossoming deciduous trees are right on schedule and lighting up the parks, mountains and forests with their graceful sprays of pink, white, yellow and purple.

This is a fascinating piece on conifers: the great giants that rule the winter landscape with green. They bless us with color until spring's blossoms invigorate the landscape with subtle and then brighter and brighter color. More conifers are featured here in the Walking Prescott blog. Evergreen trees give us a much needed reminder of vibrant life in the plant world while we wait for the ice and snow and freezing temperatures to leave us for another year.

Despite being welcome, spring briefly brought somewhat unwelcome surprises in the form of high temperatures, setting records in many areas. The local blog Cold Climate Gardening looks at the statistical information that reminds us climate change is an ongoing issue.

From Brambleberries in the Rain, one of the prettiest blogs in my blogroll, here is a lovely early spring nature walk including colorful flowering trees (one of them is pictured above).

This is a fascinating article on the evolution of aphids, and research done on apple trees, at the Agricultural Biodiversity blog.

From Riverside Rambles, some beautiful images of flowering trees!

From Rock Paper Lizard some finches frolic amid blossoms!

The Via Negativa blog has this unusual and excellent post combining blossoming tree imagery and a poem called "In Shadblow Time."

This recent post from osage + orange outlines the plight of the disappearing Ghost Oaks of Chicago.

Yearning for more exotic locales? Travelogged features this tour of the hanging bridges of Costa Rica. This adorable photo was taken in Kasmir, India in March:

(originally appeared at

From southern England, Somerset Seasons offers a quick, excited peek at flowering trees and shrubs in a Dorset garden. This blog post explores flowering trees in autumn in Lima, from Gunnar Engblom. And below is a stunning photo taken this March in Iran:


I wish you all a colorful, sensuous, fragrant and colorful spring!