Tree buds in spring

by James Alexander-Sinclair

I thought it might be a mildly entertaining diversion to write about the moment just before blooming [...] Trees in bud.

Tree buds in springAdam Pasco, the handsome and multi-talented editor of Gardeners' World magazine, wrote a blog the other day about blossom. I thought it might be a mildly entertaining diversion to write about the moment just before blooming, the point at which most of our trees find themselves right now. Trees in bud.

I thought of it after my wife pointed out how extraordinary the buds of the ash tree looked. She is right that they are initially charcoal grey and then open into strange purplish flowers like miniature bunches of grapes. I had a quick wander around after that looking at buds and the first emerging leaves. It is awesome to think how much energy is stored up in those little parcels, just waiting for the warm weather.

This is Prunus 'Tai-Haku', which, for those of you who have not met it before, is the most phenomenally over-the-top cherry tree. A vast amount of frothy white blossom that is spectacular for a week or so in May.

Here are the first leaves of Rosa rugosa 'Snowdon', a wildish rose that I have growing on a grassy bank. It has clear white flowers in summer and very prickly stems. I tend to hard prune some but not all, which means that we get a much longer flowering season. (The unpruned flower earlier.)

This is the beginning of growth on a pear tree called 'Fondante d'Automne' which has lovely flowers, fantastic autumn colour and not very good fruit. Still two out of three is OK, I suppose.

These are the catkins and buds of Betula jaquemontii and, finally, lime buds. Lime leaves (Tilia x europaea) are the most delicious colour when young and feel soft and slightly damp and newborn. Sadly they quickly become leathery and the home of many millions of aphids which then proceed to drip honeydew onto anything parked beneath them.

Spring is here and there is so much to see.

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Gardeners' World Web User 16/04/2010 at 07:47

I agree with you.Most of my shrubs survived the cold fine and are flowering better than ever, with the exception of the ceonothus which seems to have lost a lot of growth and leaves(it is an evergreen type). Sadly my garden is too small for any trees.

Gardeners' World Web User 16/04/2010 at 08:30

I love it when the leaves erupt in a fat bunch on my tree peony and in no time at all the fat buds of the flowers appear. I also like the shrubs that have flowers before the leaves like forsythia, flowering quince and Cornus chinensis. At the moment I have to force myself indoors to do necessary voluntary work but do so very reluctantly as the beauty of my garden unfolds.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/04/2010 at 18:40

It's wonderful to see plants bursting into growth. I am watching the golden hop racing up our pergola and have taken to marking its daily progress. This seems to be about an inch a day. Amazing!

Gardeners' World Web User 25/04/2010 at 22:13

i have just bought a pear tree is it usual not 2 have any buds on it yet

Gardeners' World Web User 28/05/2010 at 15:07

I must admit,it is an exciting time of the year when we see all the buds forming and wait to see the lovely leaves and flowers that follow. Having said that, we have a Beech tree that overhangs our garden from the neighbouring infant school. It is a handsome specimen, but this year it is infected by a white aphid on the underside of the leaves. They secrete a horrible sticky substance which drops onto the plants and slabs below making a terrible mess. I believe this secretion can cause black mould on leaves and may damage the plants. In the past I have moved potted plants but some are now too big to manhandle so I'm hoping for plenty of rain which may wash away some of the residue left by these pests. Has anybody out there experienced this problem? Luckily it doesn't occur every year so it must be down to the weather conditions.

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