April 10, 2011

Budding Trees and Shrubs


We've returned to spring in the past few days, after a stretch of wintry weather. I've been out in the apple orchard, trying to finish up the pruning. As I walked around the trees, I saw that their buds were beginning to swell, so I took a closer look at some of the other trees and shrubs around the house, to see if they'd emerged from dormancy.


I noticed a variety of bud forms and growth patterns, and decided to photograph them simply, against sky or snow, to show each expressive character. The forsythia bristled with dark pointed mini-torpedoes.


The May flowering shrub Nannyberry has buds like expectant birds' heads, waiting to open for a morsel of food.

American Cranberry

Buds like oxblood-colored enamel jewels brighten the stems of the American Cranberry.

White Ash

The branches of the White Ash are irregularly bumpy, with buds that echo their character: flattish curved forms at branch ends, like little hard pillows.


And finally, a beloved spring shrub, the lilac, here with the empty seed husks from last season and fresh new buds, which will soon be ready to unfurl and begin the show.


  1. Oh what a joy to see the trees waking up!

  2. Apart from the wonderful photographs of the budding
    plant-life around you, they come alive also
    in your powerful, natural descriptions of them,
    the poetry of them, adding the last link to the beauty.
    Outstanding, Altoon!

  3. Laura, it is a thrill, and each year the joy is the same; it never dimishes.
    William, thank you so very much; it is high praise indeed coming from you.

  4. This images really show me how your astute observations effect your art: especially your wonderful ruglets.

  5. Lovely Altoon...Trees reaching into the air and light that spawns them. The invisible manifesting itself into form...very exciting

  6. A post of hope. We had snow in Boston on April 1, the trees were in full bloom one week later. How does this happen anyway, and in complete silence?
    Ah mysterium.

    Thanks for this.

  7. thank you, Julie, john and slowmuse. I think we all respond strongly to this mystery of renewing life.

  8. We are a little further along with spring than this but I can still feel the excitement of those first buds. I know you are enjoying them.

  9. If you didn't know it was a tree, the nanyberry looks like an allium!

  10. Such beautiful bud forms, Altoon. Such an observer you are. Exciting isn't it?