Avocado Trees are Blooming!

Blooming avocado tree It’s springtime in the avocado groves!   The trees started blooming weeks ago, but by now the hills are a mass of yellow blossoms!  You can hear the bees buzzing in the grove as they pollinate each tiny blossom.  The tree in this photo had a few “off blooms” in January, and the fruit has already had time to grow into plum-sized avocados.  This is one reason that some avocados are mature enough to pick very early in the season, and others take longer to be ready.

With such nice weather, I’ve been getting out to ride around and watch the progress of the springtime bloom!  In today’s post I even have a video for you!

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Avocado Blooms and Wildflowers: Super Blooms!

falling avocado flowers
I love this photo.  A brown, dead leaf that has fallen from the tree is wedged among the blossoms.   Some of the spent flowers have fallen on top of the dead leaf…as if resting in a cradle among the blooms that will soon become new fruit.  Avocado trees drop their leaves all year long, but during bloom season lots of leaves fall as the flowers come out.   Then the flowers begin to fall too,  covering the ground with tiny dried flowers.   Then the baby avocados begin to appear!

tiny avocado newborn

Tiny newborn avocado forms where the flower was pollinated.

And here is a newborn baby avocado! Continue reading

Springtime: Avocado Flowers, Hummingbirds, and Baby Avocados

hummingbird-in-avocado-tree

 

April is the month when everything happens at once in the avocado grove. Farmers  begin to harvest  the crop that has been growing for the past year on the trees.   The avocado trees are in full bloom and baby avocados are beginning to appear.  The constant humming of bees in the trees as they pollenate the flowers can be loud,  and humming birds are flitting around too!  See the little guy sitting high up in the tree?

avocadoflowersThe avocado flowers are beautiful little stars…clusters of optimism…nature’s little smiley faces.

flowers-and-baby-avocadoAnd after a while,  baby avocados appear … little green B-B’s that grow so quickly you can almost see them change before your eyes.   New red leaves in the spring  turn to green as they mature,  ready to shade the new avocados from the hot summer sun. Continue reading

Vermont Spring Part 2: Jack in the Pulpit to Lilacs

Adder's Tongue with variegated leaves

Adder's Tongue...leaves look like a snake

For years after I moved from Vermont to California I didn’t feel like I deserved springtime.   In the northeast,  springtime is the reward for having survived yet another cold, icy winter.  Months of difficult driving,  canceled events and compulsory boots, mittens, scarves and hats  are like an annual purgatory, unless you are the kind of person who loves winter sports.    Late spring snowstorms can delay springtime even into the month of May.   Once the last of the snow has melted and the warm sun coaxes the woodland flowers up through the blankets of dead leaves,  the miracle of Vermont springtime unfolds just as it has for generations.

One of the prettiest spring flowers in the northeast is Adder’s Tongue.  My grandmother taught me that Adder means snake…and sure enough,  the leaves can look like the back of a garter snake…and the flower is a pretty yellow lily.  After they have bloomed  in the woods, it’s time to begin to look for Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

You have to know exactly where to search  for the elusive Jack-In-The-Pulpit , a rare flower in Vermont…so rare that picking them is illegal.    They grow in areas where there are hard woods….like maple trees… and they don’t come up until May.  First the leaves appear, and then the flowers unfold.   It’s hard to actually see them until your eye becomes accustomed to seeing their unique camouflage in the changing carpet of the woods.

Jack-In-The-Pulpit

Jack-In-The-Pulpit

I am always surprised to see the perfect stripes on the plant.  Such a funny design for a flower…another indication that our creator sure must have a sense of humor.

Jack In the Pupit

Finding "Jack"

Lifting the monk’s hood of this unique lily,  one can find the preacher “Jack” underneath.   These flowers can be tiny or quite large …they are always a delightful surprise.  If you find one, there are probably more nearby.

 

blue forgetmenots

Blue Forget-Me-Nots

Blue Forget-Me-Nots were my father’s favorite flower…at least, that’s what he once told me.  They can be found near streams and brooks.   They  make pretty little nosegays, and there are usually so many that it’s fine to pick them.

yellow violets

Wild Yellow Violets

Violets begin to bloom in the middle of the springtime.   Yellow violets are at the edge of meadows,  in ditches next to dirt roads.   Tiny light blue violets grow in the grassy  meadows.  The dark purple violets are under evergreens and under shrubs.  These may not be hard and fast rules, but they are the ones I followed to find sweet violets every spring.

light blue violets

Light blue violets

purple violets

Purple Violets

When the flowering fruit trees begin to bloom,  it’s almost time for spring to move into summer.

flowering cherry

Ornamental Cherry Tree

Wild apple tree

Blossoming wild apple trees look almost like snow

During the month of May the dandelions turn the green pastures to solid yellow.

Dandelions

Dandelions!

 

dandelion flowers

Beautiful weeds! Golden dandelions

As children, we loved to pick bouquets of dandelions, not minding that the milky juice from the stems would stain our hands.  In fact, there was once sunny day when he gave each of us a large paper grocery bag and instructed us to fill them with blossoms.  I was 5 or 6  years old, so my 3 siblings had to be younger.   Daddy told us he would be making “soup”… his word for the crock full of fruits and sugars, fermenting into dandelion  wine!

In another 10 days, those same bright yellow pastures will be white after all the  dandelions that have gone to seed, and the fuzzy seeds will be floating in the wind.

dandelions gone to seed

Dandelions have gone to seed...summer is here!

The next big milestone in Vermont is Memorial Day.  This is the time for planting gardens…the frost has probably passed by now.  (I say “probably” because nothing in Vermont is for certain!)   The lilacs are blooming for Memorial Day or shortly thereafter in central Vermont.  Our family usually took bouquets of lilacs to the cemetary to decorate the headstones of our grandparents.  When our father died several years ago, it was comforting that his time came just a week before Memorial Day.

purple lilacs

Purple Lilacs smell delicious!

white lilacs

White Lilacs

 

We can’t forget the precious and fragrant Lily of the Valley that blooms during this time of spring!

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley...tiny bells full of perfume!

The summer months bring a whole new parade of flowers in the fields.  There won’t be as many flowers in the woods…not like the spectacular performance of springtime.

Sugar Maple Tree

Sugar Maple Tree

By the first of June, the trees have filled out and the songbirds have returned to the northeast.  The miracle has happened once again as it has every year for eons, and yet next year, after the long months of winter,  springtime will be just as amazing as ever.   Vermonters never take springtime for granted.

 

 

 

Vermont Spring…A Miracle That Happens Every Year

Camel's Hump in Vermont

Camel's Hump and blooming maples

Last year at this time  I was with my mother in Vermont.   I arrived just as she was released from the hospital following an emergency surgery.   During the three weeks that we spent together,  the days and nights blurred together as we waited for her body to heal,  coaxing her appetite to return and learning ways to make each day more comfortable.   While we were engrossed in our post-operative return-to-life,  the woods around my mother’s house were also returning from the long cold winter to the promised new life of springtime.    I was able to take a daily walk in the woods to become re-acquainted with the miracle of a Vermont springtime that  I have missed for so many years.    The last days of April and the first weeks of May  are magical in the woods!  Here are some of the wildflowers that grow near our family home in Central Vermont.

walking into the woods

Walking into the woods after the snow has melted

The ground seems dead just after the snow has melted.  Soft, carpeted in decaying leaves and pine needles.   The wind whistles through the tops of the trees but the path in the woods is quiet and calm.

Spring Beauties

Spring Beauties

Some of the first plants to grow are the Spring Beauties.  They can sprout up through the melting snow and bloom throughout the spring season.

Adder's Tongue

An Adder is a Snake...this is called Adder's Tongue

The foliage of Adder’s Tongue can be solid green or variegated like a snake’s body.  The pretty little yellow lily is one of my favorite flowers of springtime in Vermont.

 

Fiddle Heads

Fiddle Heads are ferns beginning to grow...and they're a delicacy!

As the ferns begin to emerge from the ground,  the look like the end of a violin…so they’re called Fiddle Heads.  They can be cut and eaten,  considered a woodland delicacy in Vermont and served in local restaurants  in the spring.

Fiddle Heads growing taller

Fiddle Heads growing taller

The fiddleheads grow taller and unfurl to become large ferns!

Hepatica

Pretty little Hepatica

When the Hepatica begin to bloom,   Springtime in Vermont is in full swing.   Other woodland flowers will be blooming soon after…like Dutchman’s Britches and Red Trillium.

Dutchman's Britches

Dutchman's Britches

 

red trillium

Red Trillium are also called "Nose Bleeds"

 

The maple sugaring season is long over…it happens before the snow has melted, when the warm sun causes the sap to run.   The maple trees begin to bloom,  the leaves begin to grow, and baby maple trees sprout in the woods!

maple sugar house

This sugar house is visible until the leaves come back on the maple trees.

 

 

maple seedling

Maple seedings begin to come up in the woods!

Blooming maple trees

The maple trees are blooming!

Springtime moves quickly, once it gets started.   If you walk in the woods and meadows,  you will notice the changes each day.  After a long, cold winter,   spring seems like a miracle that happens every year!

 

To be continued….

 

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