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April 18, 2009 | Matt Cole, Director of Education

[caption id="attachment_1264" align="alignnone" width="267" caption="A street tree shows signs of spring under the snow."]  

A street tree, likely a hybrid, shows the its bloom under the snow.[/caption]

The weekend's snow and slush is a perfect reminder that all the work we gardeners do, the plants work every day, in the same place, no matter the conditions.  I spotted this maple streetside in a Denver neighborhood and thought "The new leaves look so green under the white snow."  I returned with my camera as evening was falling and discovered something quite different!

The green blooms may look like new leaves from a distance.

The maple was blooming!  Those are its green flowers coming out from under the snow.  Imagine that you are traveling to an arranged marriage with someone unknown and the sleet and snow is getting slushier and mushier and deeper and deeper but you absolutely must get there or dire consequences ensue.  Thats what blooming in the midst of a wet snowstorm is like for a plant.  The marriage is cross pollination, the marriage arranger is the pollinator (or pollinating vector for wind pollination), and the snowstorm is, well, a snowstorm.

Just when this maple was going to reproduce, its coated in water and snow.

Metaphors aside, maples like this one do bloom, as do many other trees. Snowy days are great for short trips outside and for making one appreciate the comforts of home.  But even in the weather we've had lately, there are plants making there way in the world, and if you stop a moment and consider, you may be able understand a day in the life of a tree.

Plants take a chance on the weather when they bloom.


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