Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Greetings from Kitsap Forests

Spring Salutations and Fall Felicitations to all!

Trees in the Pacific Northwest are blooming, and in the cold forests of Kitsap County our deciduous trees are slowly awakening.

Wild willow hybrids (Salix) are early with fuzzy pussywillow flowers. Today you can smell hints of the balsam perfume of the
Black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera spp. trichocarpa) drifting through on the breeze. Evergreen huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum), an important year-round food source for birds and beasts of all kinds, have already begun to blossom.

Red alder (Alnus rubra) trees are among the first to wiggle open here in the spring warmth. The “red” of their appellation is best revealed in spring when the twigs, buds, and catkin flowers all blush with the rise of sap and the stir of March storms. Alders are a hearty pioneering species which help establish good growing conditions for other plant species in the forest.

We have a healthy stand of young alders (10+ years) which grew over the part of the property which was originally clear-cut. Today they are home to birds, frogs, mice, snakes, bunnies, bees, and plenty of other critters (and there’s an awesome blackberry thicket producing in the middle).

Spring days are patchworks of rain, cloud, wind, thunder, and sudden, bright sunbreaks. It’s the right time of year for rainbow watching, so if you see sun, rain, and black clouds in the early morning or late afternoon, I highly recommend that you step away from your desk, go outside, and search the sky for fleeting arcs of color.

Want more spring trees and flowers? Take a look at spring blossoms in eastern Pennsylvania from March 2006 and March 2007.
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REMINDER: The Festival of the Trees issue 46 is hosted at Vanessa’s Trees and Shrubs Blog on

Vanessa invites submissions of all kinds, and is especially interested in humorous trees in honor of April Fool's Day.

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