Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Looking Up

Oh, it is Spring! Looking through my files of photos, I do have some O's for this week's ABC post.

First, we have Oleander. A common shrub across the world from the Mediteranean region to southern China, this particular plant was photographed in Arizona.

Oleander shrubs are seen everywhere in Arizona from home landscaping to highway plantings. They can even grow as trees as in the picture above. As beautiful and long-blooming as they are, I'm not sure I would want them in my own backyard. A member of the dogbane family, oleander is highly toxic.

I don't have to look beyond my yard, however, to find the next O--my grand old oak tree that I've determined is over 200 years old. I've used this tree before in several posts, including an ABC post last fall, using its botanical name Quercus Macrocarpa. This photo was taken last summer, however; it's just beginning to show the faint signs of green leaves right now.

While the majestic old oak is my favorite tree, in the spring I'm partial to the redbuds. I've discovered, though, that capturing the almost fluorescent lavender of its spring blooms is nearly impossible on a sunny day, and a cloudy day isn't much better.

After a beautiful but windy weekend, the clouds rolled in with rain for the past two days. You can see the redbud to the right in this picture. Yes, in the springtime it's my favorite tree . . .

. . . or maybe this pink flowering crabapple is my favorite. Once all the blooms open up, it's magnificent.

Of course, it's hard to choose between the pink crabapples and the red ones. (There's a sprig of redbud to the left that shows its color!)

But there's also something to be said for the white crabapple. Oh, it's so hard to choose--I just love them all!

This week, as April moves into May, is one of my favorite times of the year as all the flowering trees burst into bloom, and the long lane leading to our house looks like something out of a fairy tale. Sadly, though, this year the fairy tale didn't end happily ever after. I took all these photos on Saturday and Sunday, and by Monday I noticed many of the blooms had blown to the ground and no new ones were opening up. The red crabs bloomed for two days at the most, and the pink ones had only a few blooms. The white crabapple looks pretty good above, but it's at least a week earlier than last year and not nearly as full of blooms.

Last year this is what my driveway looked like on the first of May, with the white crabapple still waiting to blossom. Beckie and I were talking today about the lack of flowering crabapple blooms this year. Another local blogger, Joyce, commented last week that her crabapples had been hurt by the cold winter. It makes me sad to think this year I won't see the same view as above. But at the same time, Beckie commented how much better her plum tree looks this year, and I've noticed that all the magnolia trees seem to have blossomed earlier this year without the all too often damage from frost. I guess it just shows that Mother Nature can surprise us at any time.

Speaking of surprises, by far the biggest surprise this spring has been the two old apple trees--they are literally bursting with blooms. I have never seen them bloom like this; I wonder if that means if they will have even more apples this year? Actually, I hope not--I still have a freezer full of applesauce:)

What's even more surprising to me is that one of these apple trees is still standing. You can see the huge hollow area in its lower trunk; I'm worried that a strong storm one day might be the end of this apple tree. But then again, one never knows--Cheryl also posted about her beautiful old apple tree on Monday, complete with a similar hollow.

While I've spent sunny days lately looking downward, digging in the dirt and looking for new growth in the garden, it's good to look upward and see blooms sent from above.

To see more ABC posts, you can visit here.


  1. I am gaping at your driveway! The word *huge* comes to mind!
    Oleander & oak, lovely choices for the letter *O*!
    Lovely photos as always!

    Word verification is getting more weird by the minute! This time it is mistspat

  2. What a gorgeous oak tree, and lovely verdant photos. (Hmm, I hope I spelled that right). I saw the comment above and feel compelled to tell you that my word verification is mermence: remembrance of a mermaid perhaps?

  3. When I was at your house the other day picking up the pass alongs Stells lilies, I thought your tress beautiful. I always enjoy driving up the lane when they are in bloom. But they don't look as full as last year and that must be disappointing to you after waiting all year. The apple trees seem to be trying o make up for the lack of blooms out front though. Dare I say it, CUB fan? " just wait til next year!"

  4. Rose all I can say is wow ! .. you are so lucky to have such beautiful trees around your home. The oak is simply magnificent .. to know it has been standing there for that time is awesome in its truest respect.
    The crab apples are amazing when they bloom in sequence .. gorgeous !
    Every so often in Kingston and around the outlying areas .. the lilacs all bloom in sequence as well and the air is FILLED with their perfume .. those years are very special.
    I love that you honored these trees with this post girl : )
    YES ... I am a TREE HUGGER ! LOL

  5. Such a beautiful drive to your home. The flowering trees are all so pretty I'd be hardpressed to choose a favorite too.

  6. OOoooo such a wOnderful pOst. YOur driveway lOOks lOvely tO me. Our Old apple tree lOOks mishapen since I have been lOOping Off several limbs that have died the past few years. I lOve its blOOms thOugh it had fewer this year it seemed tO me.

  7. Rose these trees are so pretty! I bet it does look gorgeous driving down your driveway.

    Aren't trees/plants amazing. They have such a will to live even when half of the plant is missing. There is a huge, huge oak next door which is gorgeous and is missing half of the trunk.

    Of course during windy storms we keep the fingers crossed it doesn't blow over.

  8. You are ahead of us up here in the northern part of the state. No signs of blooms on the crabapples yet. Lilacs are just starting in the warmest microclimates.

    Your photos are beautiful. I look forward to the crabapples every year. Every inch of their branches is covered in bloom.

  9. Incredible, delightful and colorful photos! And all great for the O day! Love the oleanders and the oak, but they're all beautiful! Thanks as always for stopping by! Have a great day!

  10. I've had the same problem trying to photograph redbuds- my favorite by far in the spring! I think you did capture it in the picture that has just one branch of it showing.

    I'm sure our favorites will be full of blooms next year. We surely can't have two winters in a row like this past one!

  11. I love Redbuds too! I think the first time I became aware of them was during my time at the U of I. I've been trying to grow one in my yard during the almost 14 years we've lived in our house; I'm currently on my third one. Hopefully the third time is the charm as I've noticed signs of life even after the cold winter we've had.

    As far as your apple tree, it might be flowering more since it is under some stress due to the cavity in the trunk. That's just a guess on my part though.

  12. I see that your trees flower as abundantly as ours did this spring. Our crabapple and Japanese cherry were just as beautiful as yours. Thanks for sharing. Thanks also for your visit! Here is some extra information about London Bridge:

  13. Hi Rose...lovely trees and photos...the Oleander is a new one to me, I've never seen one in person. As for Oaks, they are such interesting trees. The older ones can be really neat, especially the trunks, and branches...they can get so very TALL! Our problem right now with the MANY oaks in our yard is the POLLEN that they are comes down in bunches, in little pods all clumped together. It isn't nice right now because it makes everything YELLOW and covered with a powder that is a real PAIN. BUT, other than that, spring is lovely here, with my flowers blooming and lots of work going on in our garden. I hope you are having a wonderful gardening day today...if not today, then tomorrow for sure!!! Hope your heatwave, like ours (95+ degrees for 3 days!) is over. It's raining today, and I love it.!! Jan

  14. Hi Rose, I've heard of Oleander but I've never seen it. I too love redbuds and they're just blushing here. That's some driveway you have! It reminds me of a section of Hidden Lake Gardens! :)

  15. Beautiful flowering trees...and great "O"s...

  16. What wonderful tree photos! I love the one of your springtime driveway. Here in the San Francisco Bay area the trees are past their bloom and have taken one their various shades of green - or purple (the pink-flowering plums).

  17. Hi never ceases to amaze me how different one year is from the next. I had hardly any blooms on my wisteria last the moment it is looking as if there will be blooms in abundance this year......

    I love your driveway with all the all looks so very pretty and who does not like an old oak (there is nothing grander)

    Re the hollow in the apple trees, I have read, this is often their salvation. Apparently by taking the weight out of the trunk it stops them falling over in strong winds. I found it hard to believe, but I am hoping this is true. Time will tell on this one.....

    Love this post Rose and yes spring is a most wonderful time of year.......

  18. Beautiful blossom trees Rose, thanks for sharing. I have one small apple tree and its blooms are beautiful, I do love the faint fragrance of apple blossom.

  19. Those apple trees are really laden with blooms.

    How big IS your garden?!!

  20. Rose, Now that would be a lovely 'lane' to drive every day! I remember when you first posted about your Oak tree...I was wonderfully impressed with its size and age. Oaks are very wise...they wait till the last minute to bloom and usually escape the late frost burn...gail

  21. Oleander is very common here in the warmer months. But we've had snow this week!!

  22. I don't know what happened to your Crabapples, but mine is loaded with buds. It's also been a good year for the Magnolias up here too. What has suffered are the Forsythia. Mine & many others only bloomed at the bottom of the plants, under the snow line.
    I'm so jealous of your gorgeous Redbud. Mine is still too much of a baby to bloom. I am having trouble being patient.

  23. Maggie May, We live on a farm, with about 5 acres of yard, house, and various outbuildings. Lots of room to garden, obviously! Thank heavens my husband does the mowing, though:)

    J, I think you're right--this is a verdant time of year. Perhaps we should add "mermence" to the dictionary:) Thanks for visiting.

    Beckie, I'm thinking an untimely frost may have hurt the crabapples this year. You're right--I'm sure next year will be better...and much more likely than a good Cubs' season:)

    Joy, I'm a Tree Hugger, too:) I can brag about my trees because I had nothing to do with planting them; I just get to enjoy them.

    Tina, When the trees are all in bloom, it is a joy to come home or just walk down the lane. I think my favorite depends on the time of year:)

  24. Oh, great! oaks, oleander, oh my. What a spectacular driveway.

  25. Redbuds, legumes, oleander: tricky things. Glad the Malus and the Quercus are here to keep us balanced. Your landscape is looking great, Rose.

  26. Lisa, you are OOO so clever:) My husband, who is dangerous with a chainsaw, pruned the apple trees a couple years ago. Somehow they still survived.

    Susie, I love old trees and hate to see any of them felled by a storm. It's amazing sometimes how they survive.

    Marnie, I always look forward to the crabapples blooming,too, which is why I was so disappointed this year when they didn't bloom completely--the first time ever. But my lilacs are blooming!

    Sylvia, I kind of went off on a tangent here, but this is the time of year when the trees deserve the spotlight.

    Joyce, When you said your crabapples had been damaged by the winter, I thought oh, no! I wonder if it was the harsh winter or a late frost that got them. I was so disappointed this weekend.

    Laura, I am lucky to have two redbuds. But what is interesting is that you see them growing wild along the roadsides. You would think they would be easier to grow in our yards. Interesting theory about the apple tree--I've never heard that before.

    Reader Wil, The crabapples didn't perform as well as usual--perhaps our harsh winter had a lot to do with it. Thanks for the info on London Bridge.

    Jan, I haven't noticed any pollen under the oaks, but I have noticed lots of acorn hulls. We must have very fat squirrels this spring:) The rain has been nice...but it doesn't look as though it's going to stop any time soon.

  27. Monica, I first saw oleander in Italy, at least I think that is what I saw growing along many of the highways. The great thing is that it seems to bloom for a very long time.

    Carol, Thanks! I love this time of year with the trees in bloom.

    Granny Smith, The blooms don't last as long as I would like; you have to enjoy them while you can.

    Cheryl, That is so true...while one plant might not do as well one year, another thrives. It does keep gardening interesting. That's interesting about the apple trees--I thought it was ironic that we both had apple trees with hollows in them.

    Suburbia, The apple blossoms are especially gorgeous this year. I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy yours.

    Liz, Well, my garden isn't that's the lawn that's huge. Thank heavens Husband does all the mowing. Re your comment on my last post, I think chocolate would be a great incentive for blogging. As a matter of fact, I usually go through several of my favorite truffles while sitting here:)

    Gail, The oak tree usually is the last to leaf out, and I've never seen it damaged by frost:)

    David, Oh my goodness, I don't want to hear the S word!

    MMD, It must be a matter of timing; I haven't seen too many crabapples blooming around here as they usually do. I'm still trying to figure out if it was a late frost. Redbuds are slow growers, aren't they? Such beautiful streaks of purple in the landscape.

  28. Tumblewords, the oak tree gave me the chance to show off the rest of my trees:)

    W2W, I can't take any credit for this part of the was all planted before I moved here; I just get to enjoy it.

  29. Oh, flowering trees are just so lovely! Yours are so magically pretty! I love this post! Your o's are perfect!

  30. I thought my garden was large (nearly an acre) but yours is magnificent! I have lots of blossom this year; the flowering cherries are just coming into their best and the apple trees are doing well but the damson is disappointing again - we only had 4 plums last year which weren't enough for anything.
    I have just been round my 6 fruit trees cutting away the grass which tries to encroach and feeding them with compost. I hope they appreciate it and reward me.

  31. I love when all the beautiful spring flowering trees start blooming every year. When we bought our house 12 years ago there were 2 apple trees & 1 pear in the backyard. Their all gone now due to disease or hurricanes. I miss them dearly. :)

  32. Life with Kaishon, Thank you! I get a lot of enjoyment out of my trees.

    GardenMad, You'll notice that most of this is lawn. I'm converting some of it into flowergardens, a foot at a time:) Thank you for visiting! I couldn't access your blog--I do hope you'll be back and give me a link to it.

    Racquel, Oh, I hate to lose trees! Long before we moved here, there were a couple other magnificent oaks that were struck by lightning. You just can't replace old trees like that.


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