I'm making an extra post today just to welcome Spring! Flowers are popping out all over the place, but I wanted to especially recognize our early spring woodies. On my lunchtime walk today I spotted four beautiful trees that are just beginning to bloom in my area north of Atlanta.
Redbud (Cercis canadensis) - how this tree got the name "Redbud" is a mystery to many folks because to most of us the flowers appear to be purple! But you know they say that colors and smells are subjective so we will just have to accept that someone thought they were red.
Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) - this is one of my favorite trees and a real success story for my attempts to grow new plants. Hummingbirds love the flowers, and I'm sure they an important source of nectar for these birds as they return from their winter homes. The big fat nuts are easy to gather and germinate readily if you can keep them away from squirrels. I have grown many of these from seed and donated them to the annual plant sales for the Georgia Native Plant Society.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) - the modest white flowers of Serviceberry are just beginning to appear on wooded roadsides near my house. Small, tasty berries will form from the blooms, turning first pink and then red/dark purple. However, the birds love them so much that they usually are eaten before you get to see the final color! Early settlers used the berries as well.
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - this tree is a real symbol of the southeastern U.S. states - from Virginia to Georgia, it is a popular landscape tree and a familiar sight in wild areas like state parks. What people don't usually realize is that there are many other members of the Cornus genus with vastly different looking flowers and berries. Still, this one blooms first and is more showy than any of its cousins.
And as a bonus, here are the colorful samaras (seeds) of Red maple (Acer rubrum); the blooms are long gone, but I'll bet that many folks see these from a distance and think they are flowers. They are pretty and colorful enough that I could agree with that!
I hope you are enjoying some of Georgia's beautiful native flowers this week in celebration of the arrival of Spring at last.