May 11, 2014

Tree Following: Shagbark Buds in May

bud

Many garden and nature bloggers are following trees this year, and I've picked the Shagbark Hickory. Lucy at Loose and Leafy is hosting this tree-following meme, and each month bloggers around the world post something about our chosen trees.

buds collage

In my garden, May is a dramatic month in the life of the Shagbarks. Their buds transform--from tightly closed to fully unfurled leaves and catkins--in the span of a couple of weeks.

I wish I could put a time-lapse camera on one bud and follow it through the entire progression--to share the magic of it opening. On some warm days, like today, the buds seem different every time I look out the window.

hicory buds

So far, most buds are at the stage of preparing to unfold. Actually the "pregnant bud" stage is a lovely point, when the branches look like they have candles on them.

More dramatic transformations will follow in the days ahead, which I'll share soon. Thanks to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for hosting this fascinating meme.

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43 comments:

  1. Following tree is really nice, so much pleasure. Especially on four season area. Shagbark is a new plant for me, so I never leave your posts to follow the progress. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks, Endah. The four seasons can be challenging (living through the extremes), but they do provide a change of pace throughout the year. I find it incredible that plants, trees, and animals can survive such extremes--while we humans have the luxury of living in homes that can be cooled and warmed to keep us comfortable.

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  2. Trees are so important, we need more attention from all and especially from institutions and government, more actions in preserving and conservationism and plant more in areas that really need them I am looking for a project in my area to get involved.

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    1. I agree, Lulah. Trees are so incredibly important to their ecosystems. They support the life around them--including humans. Good luck and please keep us posted on your projects!

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  3. It will be fun to follow the Shagbark bud, leaf progression. Amazing to look back into the woods right now and no leaves . . . a slight blush of green though and warm days with rain . . . things will go pop, presto and it will be a sea of green.

    moment of spring, right now, this moment . . . and guess what I found yesterday Trillium in bloom . . .

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    1. Things have gone "pop" here--including the Shagbarks! They're behaving a little differently this year, and it's hard to describe so I'll try to put it in words in a different post. Yay, you have Trilliums! They're blooming here, too, and it seems to be a good year for them!

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  4. What a beautiful series of photos. Our tree buds are just swelling. There is an occasional elusive green mist in the woodland surrounding my house.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Don't you just love the magic of swelling buds?! Overnight, the woods have filled with green and suddenly my garden is shady again. Soon the large Oaks and the Hickories will fill out, too. Enjoy the transformation in your garden!

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  5. This tree is new for me, so thank you for introducing me to it. Your photographs are lovely. Susie

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    1. Thank you, Susie. It's a fabulous large shade tree for many North American gardens.

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  6. You picked one of my aptly-named favorites, one I grew in Connecticut. You keenly observe beauty beyond its bark.

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    1. It's a great tree, isn't it, Lee? I didn't plant our Shagbarks, but I'm certainly enjoying them!

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  7. Shagbark is looking good. On my tree posting - no buds yet as you can see from the most recent posting - but I hope by the next posting in June something will be happening to my Honey Locust! Jack

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    1. I'm guessing your Honey Locusts will start to break bud soon. Ours are just starting. The foliage on Honey Locusts is wonderful. I like the fact that the small leaves allow filtered sunlight, and that when they drop in the fall you can simply mow them into the lawn because they're so small.

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  8. I also like the "pregnant bud" stage. Such beauty in trees is too often overlooked!

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    1. I guess it's my favorite stage with most trees. So much promise in that moment that passes so fleetingly. In our hustle and bustle we often miss it.

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  9. Replies
    1. They're fun to watch this time of year. Our Shagbarks are right outside the kitchen window, so we can see the changes happening from moment to moment.

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  10. I've had so much fun watching the new buds of our trees here in my new yard unfurl. I don't always know what type of tree it is or what the buds will turn into, so it is exciting! I love Shagbark Hickories, though I don't think I have any in my yard. Such pretty trees!

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    1. Oh, I'm happy for you! It's so fun to discover new plants, trees, and happenings--especially in a new garden! If I had to pick a large, deciduous tree to plant in a suburban garden, it would probably be Shagbark Hickory.

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  11. Like you, I am very drawn to that bud stage. At the farm where I worked on my design work, the trees and shrubs in spring made for some very beautiful macro work. I also like touching the buds, so many soft and fuzzy ones. Your images are wonderful, the softness looks so inviting.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! Yes, the buds are fascinating--on almost any tree species. But the Shagbarks are particularly interesting at this stage because the buds are rather large and they go through such a unique transformation.

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  12. Replies
    1. Yes, I agree--the textures are fabulous. And it's great fun to watch the layers peel away to reveal the leaves, and later the catkins.

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  13. It's great to watch a tree through it's many cycles and seasons. Especially, to capture the different stages of bud growth, wonderful shots. Have a beautiful day.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. It's a great tree to study--especially this time of year. Some years, the transformation happens so fast!

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  14. The fuzzy buds are great. I'm not famililar with the Shagbark Hickory, but I love nut trees in general. I planted a bunch at my house but don't get to eat any nuts- squirrels eat them all. But it does keep them busy so they don't eat my apples. Do you get nuts, and how are they?

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    1. Oh, I know! The squirrels eat most of our Hickory nuts. It's so fun to watch them eating them and running around with them in the fall. :)

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  15. Great photos! The buds really are beautiful. It seems like all our trees leafed out overnight. I love that first week when there's just the hint of green everywhere.

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    1. Thanks, Rose! A lot of our trees are leafed out now, too. But with this little cold snap, some of the larger trees are hanging on just a bit longer. Such a fun stage in the spring!

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  16. What a great tree. Several years ago in the town where I live, developers were clearing a field for a mini-mall and grocery store. Luckily they left standing a huge old but healthy hickory tree. Then they named an adjoining street "Hickory Street." You gotta love that. I love trees. Great post.

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    1. Love that story, Grace! It's sweet and hopeful. Some trees are larger than life, and it's wonderful when developers allow the old, established ones to remain in the landscape. If trees could talk...

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  17. Wonderful tree and photos! Wish I had one!

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    1. I highly recommend it, if you ever need/want to add a large, native shade tree to your landscape.

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  18. What an amazing bud-to-flower stage! You could never guess the flowers would end up like that from before they opened up! Looking forward to the next step, I have no idea what’s coming after this as I have never seen this tree before :-)

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    1. Hi Helene. Yes, it's fascinating to watch. Actually, the flowers follow later, and they're male and female. The male flowers are catkins and the female flowers are small, indistinct green flowers close to the stem. I'll try to show them in my next post about the Shagbarks. :)

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    2. Oh! I thought this was the flowers! So leaves first and then flowers – I’ll look forward to next chapter :-)

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  19. Oh wow Beth those are amazing...I love how they unfurl.

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    1. I know ... aren't they amazing? And the unfurling continues each day. They're right outside my kitchen window, so I enjoy watching the changes each day.

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  20. Amazing. Never seen anything like those buds, wonderful, thank you Both.

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    1. They are unique. I'd love to find a time-lapse video of a Shagbark bud unfurling. Fascinating!

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  21. Extraordinary. And beautiful! Your page of pictures makes time-lapse photography redundant. Indeed it's better because one can linger over each stage.

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    1. Thanks, Lucy. You won't believe the change from mid-May to mid-June! Thanks, again, for hosting!

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