Friday, May 14, 2010

Redbuds and other spring beauties

We’re enjoying a lovely spring in Chicago this year. Our early spring flowers are starting to fade: lilacs, redbuds, and trillium are all past their peak. I just took a spin around the Garden and saw several species in full bloom, including red columbine, (Aquilegia canadensis), marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides), the incredible lady slipper orchid (Cypripedium candidum), shooting star (Dodecatheon media), strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Jacob's ladder (Polemonium reptans), and golden Alexander (Zizia aurea). Just starting to show their pretty purple-blue flowers are spiderworts (Tradescantia ohiensis). They’ve been open a couple of days here at the Garden and I noticed the first one open in my yard yesterday.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
Photo by Jennifer Anderson, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

On April 19, I drove from Chicago to St. Louis and it was a study in redbud (Cercis canadensis) phenology. In Chicago, the redbuds were just starting to open, they were in peak bloom around Bloomington, Illinois, and by the time I reached St. Louis they were just past peak. In redbud time, we’re about 15 days behind St. Louis. When I was in Boulder last week, I saw redbud in peak bloom there. I would estimate Boulder is about 7-10 days behind Chicago, according to the redbuds!

What is your spring looking like this year? It is May 14th, do you know what your redbud is doing?

Kay Havens

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