From the Garden
Cheryl Carmichael, Master Gardener
The earth turns, seasons change. Once again I watch with awe and delight as my garden comes alive after a short Central Valley winter nap. Invisible seeds dropped by plants and birds unfurl their first leaves (cotyledons), bare stems of perennials break the barriers at the growth points and begin the slow but sure process of filling out their form for the coming growing season, many ultimately producing flowers for visual delight, pollination, and reproduction. I pull the new weeds that appear everyday, mainly privets that pop up because the birds love the sweetness of the berries and defecate the seeds while in flight from one branch to the next. I wander the yard several times a day, every day, a habit bred through years of wandering our Midwest garden with my mother. I always thought it was a waste of time then, but have come to appreciate that every day brings new wonder.
Leaves and flowers unfurling
My favorite pastime at this time of year is watching the leaves of trees unfolding from the almost invisible bulges on the branches. For deciduous trees, the stark stems are accentuated against the blue skies and only through experience
do I know that the buds will swell, change color, and slowly send forth the miracle of flowers and leaves. If you look carefully, you will see that each leaf is perfectly folded along its veins like intricate origami. Each unfolds like a perfectionist has packaged every one in its own “Space Bag.” The folds relax and a perfect miniature leaf and petiole emerge surrounding the floral display. Bees hum around the inconsequential flowers. Each day nature irons flat the folds on each leaf, allowing the leaves to enlarge, finally reaching their full glory in their own time. I love and appreciate all of the stages of leaf growth: from the nascent buds, the color change and swelling, the emergence of baby leaves, their expansion, the shade and the coloration and decline of the Fall. I don't even mind raking all the debris.
Tiny new leaves perfectly folded as they emerge
Take the time to watch the wonder of nature in the emergence of life all around you.
Photos courtesy of Cheryl Carmichael 02/2022.