June 12, 2014

Gatherings of Tiny Flowers


Many flowers are simple in form, such as the 3 petaled Trillium, or the 6 petaled tulip. Roses can be plain or frothy, as can peonies. Different from these singular flowers are the tiny flowers of many shrubs and small trees; grouped in long sprays or rounds they have a beautiful presence. First among these flowers, a glory of spring, is the lilac with its head made up of myriad 3 or 4 petaled flowers, so attractive to insects. Each year I look forward to watching the swallowtail butterflies sip from the flowers.

Nannyberry, in bud

The Nannyberry, a viburnum,  is a very large shrub that I'd planted as a small stick many years ago. Each spring it's covered with round clusters of white flowers, and red berries that are attractive to birds in the fall. I love seeing the early stages of tiny buds crowded together.

Nannyberry flowers

Later, looking closely through the camera lens I can see the gathering of a multitude of white flowers, decorated by long, yellow tipped stamens.

Red Osier Dogwood

These pretty, star shaped flowers are blooming on a shrub that grows wild here, and prolifically (I'm constantly back cutting newly appearing plants).

Bridal Wreath Spirea

The round arrays of blossoms are small and more delicate on the Bridal Wreath shrub, but they cover the bush almost completely now, a white cloud.


Not all flowers are gathered into circular forms; the chokecherry, like the lilac, has a long form, more cylindrical than the lilac, gracefully drooping, inviting many insects.

American Cranberry

Another viburnum, the American cranberry has a circlet of larger flowers surrounding small ones, here not yet opened, at its center. The surprising thing about this configuration is that the outer, showier flowers are sterile and it's the tiny ones in the middle that are fertile.

Snowball Viburnum, green stage

The Snowball is a delight in spring with its round massed flower heads. I love how they start out green.....

Snowball Viburnum, white

.....and as the petals mature the flowers become a bright white, round fluffy balls nodding in the wind. With all these plants each individual flower is insignificant, but together they put on quite a show, a grand chorus working in concert.