What a difference the longer days of spring make! Our “Picnic Tree” sports a heady canopy of leaves, while the grass beneath it grows visibly denser and the dried brown ferns of last summer rapidly disappear behind fresh green fronds. And judging by the volume and variety of songs I’m hearing, the birds around here are also feeling the spring energy.
The Picnic Tree is actually made up of several shrubs of Indian plum (Oemlaria cerasiformis), growing closely together to look like a multi-trunked tree.
Indian plum, also known as Osoberry, is a charming native species and the first shrub or tree to bloom here each year. Its flowers, which precede the leaves, usually appear in profusion by late February and last through March, a feast for hungry bees as well as for winter-weary human eyes.
Here’s how our Picnic Tree looked on February 25 this year – no visible leaves, just a mass of tiny flowers.
And here’s a closer view of those flowers in mid-March, once the leaves had started to unfold.
A couple of months from now, summer light will reveal a copious amount of tiny plums among the foliage. If I’m lucky (and fast), the birds might allow me to indulge in one or two before they begin their annual avian picnic.