Friday, May 31, 2013


I can't let the month of May go by without paying homage to the unfolding leaves that create the world around us, completely changing the landscape we live in each year as they turn the earth to green.  Walking the woods in May I'm always enchanted with the delicate life unfolding in each leaf, everyone of them different, but all contributing to the bright fresh yellow-green of spring.

These are a patch of ostrich fern I caught in the woods on the farm west of us, growing at the edge of a wet patch, with the sun shining through in early morning.  Ferns have long been one of my favourite plants in the woods, especially in spring as they initially unfold their fronds in a characteristic fiddlehead shape..

Beech leaves, which unfold from long slender reddish-brown buds into brilliant green leaves all in the space of a week, the leaves marked by strong parallel veins reaching out to the side of the leaf.

And of course maple leaves.  The sugar maple is probably the most common hardwood tree in all the forests of Grey County, if not much of southern Ontario. And they are one of the first trees to gain their leaves in mid-May, contributing a lot to turning the landscape green.

And finally, these are ash leaves in our own backyard just a few evenings ago, when the evening sun was shining through them like a cloud of large bright yellow-green confetti.  The ash (mostly white ash) are the last among the trees to unfold their leaves, often standing mostly bare still while other leaves are already green.  And may of our small ash seedlings and saplings suffered heavy damage in the unseasonally late frost last week, their first leaves all frozen and dead.  I'll be watching to see how readily they regrow.

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