Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Signs of Spring

As I drove home from work yesterday, I watched two crows chasing and harrassing a raven. Every time they dove at it, it flipped over and presented its feet. Very cool. My camera was packed in my bag on the seat behind me, so no photos.

This morning, my boss came in and announced not only were the starlings back (she saw two at her feeders yesterday), but this morning she had red-winged blackbirds and grackles. I walked by her house about 8 AM today and didn't see or hear any blackbirds of any kind...must be they waited for the sun to warm things up a bit more.

Meanwhile, back in my yard, I discovered the following additional signs of spring late yesterday afternoon:

The giant pussy willows have emerged.

The black pussy willows have emerged.
These guys are stiff and bristly, not soft
and fuzzy like "normal" pussy willows.

The hazelnut catkins await real spring. Two of my four shrubs
have these male flowers this year. Maybe I'll get nuts this time around?

The apple trees have soft green tips, with what look like
new leaves at the very end.
I actually noticed these
a month or two ago...should've noted last fall when

the pussy willows popped if the apple trees had put out this new growth
at the same time. Will have to keep my eyes peeled better next fall/winter.

The rodents got beneath the snow and snuggled up around this burning bush, using it for fodder through the winter. This is why I wrap the bases of the trees and shrubs I want to protect. I don't mind too much that this shrub was attacked, for it is considered an invasive and is one of three more plants I need to remove from my gardens.


  1. I've never seen black pussy willows. Are they native to our area? They sure look interesting. As do all signs of spring, right now.

  2. Both of these pussy willows are horticultural varieties. I found them at the North Country Gardening Symposium four or so years ago. They were part of the decorations, but I talked them into selling them to me. I just love pussy willows, so I had to have them. The black one might be Salix gracilistyla var melanostachys, although I no longer have the tag. From what I can find on-line, it's a sort of rare plant, not found in the wild.