Shining in the Sun

Posted by & filed under Natural Areas, Trees.

I’m wearing my green today, are you?  Of course I wear green everyday.  Today I am sitting in the wildflower meadow, near the end of NATO vista.  The meadow was mowed down a few weeks ago so I don’t think any gardener is going to come looking for me here.  With all the grasses and tall wildflowers being cut down, it’s easier for me to get some sun.  That’s a good thing because it’s colder today than it has been for the last few days.  

From here I can see the billowy white blossoms of pear trees in NATO vista.  If you catch sight of them out of the corner your eye, you might think it was snowing.  Turn and look in another direction into the arboretum and I can see a variety of deciduous magnolias.  There is a pleasant range in the different whites and pinks they produce.  In the distance I can see several varieties that are white.  Closer to me is the Heaven Scent Magnolia with a rich, soft pink.  Nearby is one of the “little girl” hybrids, Susan, that is a bright reddish-pink.

To get a true sense of red, however, all I have to do is turn around and look in the meadow.  There, right on the edge of the lake, is a beautiful red maple in full bloom.  Most people think of this tree as having spectacular fall color and as a nice shade tree, but to see it in flower is also a treat.  The flowers of this tree are not the giant, eye-catching flowers like the pear, magnolia or any of the “flowering trees” landscapers like.  Instead, the subtle redness of the buds gives way to small red petals with showy stigma and styles.  Each flower is beautiful, but not incredibly distinctive.  It is the volume of flowers that makes the tree glow in the sun as if it is on fire.  On a beautiful day like today, with a clear blue sky, this tree is a treasure in the garden.  Anyone can enjoy this gem – you just need to come and look.