Friday, May 9, 2008

Buds, Blossoms & Blooms (and Happy Mother's Day)

When my sons were born, we decided to commemorate each event by planting a tree.

When Alex came along, we planted a pine tree so small that every time I caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye, I thought someone had left a half-filled, green trash bag on my front lawn. In almost eighteen short years, it has grown taller than our two-story house.

Our back yard was in need of some foliage when Jeffrey first made me a Mom, so we actually planted two fruit trees. The cherry tree never did thrive, and though it produces sour cherries each year, it remains small enough that it resembles a bonsai tree. This year it has about as few leaves as it does flowers. The plum tree did much better, and in twenty-one years, the branches have grown tall enough to reach an upstairs window. Of course that's too tall for a fruit tree, but I know nothin' about prunin' no fruit trees. Besides, it has produced wonderfully sweet plums every year and why mess with that?

Well Frank and my kids' dad, Don both decided that they should mess with it. Last year, Don talked me into letting him hack away at strategically trim the excess branches of the tree. I agreed and watched much of its growth disappear before my very eyes. It was actually rather shocking to see what was left. The tree was also in shock, and protested by not producing a single blossom last year. It was the first time in twenty years that we didn't have plums.

Over the summer it still sent out those pesky suckers which are supposed to be cut back, so Frank took the clippers this time, and trimmed them last month. When only the cherry tree began to sprout blossoms a week ago, I figured that the barren plum tree would spend another fruitless summer. A few days later, its partner cherry tree was in full bloom and I took a closer look at its own branches. Lo and behold, I could see the tiniest blossoms beginning to form. By yesterday, they looked like this - all over the tree.

It looks like we'll have plums this year after all. Thanks Don and Frank!

Here are a few photos taken over this past week at home, and while walking and biking around the local parks.

After a rain, water droplets cling to the the leaves. You can see them more clearly if you click to enlarge.

A daffodil - up close and personal.

A grape hyacinth grows along a neighbour's fence on the walkway leading into the park. The flower stands about 5 centimeters (2 inches) tall.

Also after the rain, droplets cling to these fuzzy seeds. Remember to click to enlarge.

Gnarled roots secure these trees which grow outward from the edge of a small bluff.

The rain ended but the skies remained cloudy - except for one small patch of blue. When the late-day sun shone through that space, it made the colours of the wet surfaces and foliage come alive. The sunlit branches of the weeping willow drape themselves over the dock.

And here's that same willow from a distance.

Just around the bend, you'll find this picnic table where we like to stop from time to time, to just sit and enjoy the sites. In cooler weather, we'll often have a sip of something intoxicating. And in autumn - spring - summer...

A hastily-plucked and discarded tulip lies withering on the pavement of the pathway.

There are numerous blossoms emerging on plants all around the lake and throughout the park.

And where there are flowers, there are bees. I love that macro setting. Click to enlarge for more detail.

Wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there this Sunday!


Unknown said...

Hi Hilary,

I love your photos! They are beautiful. Thanks so much for visiting me and letting me know what the mystery fruit was. Your blog is great and I'll be back for a visit!

Suldog said...

That shot of the willow is magnificent. Superb color.

I wouldn't have let anybody screw with MY plum tree, so long as it was bearing good fruit. You have more faith than me, Hilary.

Frank Baron said...

See Hil - you should always listen to Don and me. We're guys, and therefore possess either the know-how to do a job properly or the BS to fake our way through it. ;)

As for your pics, I really like how you're getting more creative with your perspective. It's dead easy to recognize and take a wonderfully scenic shot. But it takes an artist to extract the extraordinary from the mundane. You're starting to do that with increasing regularity. :)

Daryl said...

Oh those are wonderful. I love going on walks with you. You take the same sort of photos I would. Especially the macros .. getting up close and personal with flowers is something I love doing.

And I love the idea of planting trees to commemorate events. I must find the photo Husband took of me standing next to this little fir tree Dad planted behind their condo .. its now SO tall you have to lean your head waaay back to see the top...


the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - I agree with Frank on this one - you are an artist! Love the flower photos, and, of course, my favourite weeping willow!
And very jealous of how much further along spring is in your neck of the woods. Still waiting for things to bud out around here! But our grass is getting green....

Pat - Arkansas said...

Ooooh! Ahhhh! Splendid photos!

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Joan. I'm glad we figured it out. I hope you'll return soon and often. :)

• Thank you, Suldog. I'm not so sure about the "more faith" part.. maybe just not as bright. But it worked out in the end. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the compliment, Frank. It means a lot to me. As for you and Don, I'd say it rather light on the know-how and ultra heavy on the BS. Somehow you still get by. ;)

• Thanks muchly, Daryl. I'm glad you joined me on my walk. And I'd love to see that photo of the tree. :)

• Thanks so much for your kind words, Baggie. If your grass is greening up, the rest sure won't be far behind. I promise.. sorta. ;)

• Thanks, Pat - much appreciated.

Leah J. Utas said...

Love your pics. I'm especially fond of the wet surfaces one. It really draws the viewer in.

david mcmahon said...

Lovely work, as always. Yes, I've seen that happen to other fruit trees, exactly as you described it.

My favourote shot - the daffodil.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day, Hilary.

photowannabe said...

Happy Mom's Day to you too Hilary. I like the tradition of planting a tree. Its great to watch both grow together. I'm so glad your tree is blooming. Fresh plums are so yummy.
Love the shot of the raindrops on the fuzzy leaves. Beeautiful and especially good enlarged.

Dianne said...

Happy Mother's Day Hilary!

Thank you for such beautiful shots. And I'm thrilled that the plums are back. The weeping willow and the dock are stunning shots, they look like paintings.

Jo said...

Happy Mothers Day! I love your tradition of planting trees & watching them grow with your boys. I'm glad the plum tree survived the Don-Frank barbershop!

Such sigh-worthy photos, Hil! I love the daffodil & the first of the willow--that one reminds me of Monet. The tulip was so lovely.

I agree with Frank, your artistry with the lens is really coming along in dazzling ways.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Just stunning.

I thought that daffodil in particular was going to pop out of the computer and eat me alive.

Very cool.

Chi said...

The daffodil is very alluring; erotic in a Georgia O'Keefe-ish sort of way.

CC said...

Beautiful pictures!

Okay, do you have any fun stories of Frank and Don when they work together? I ask because I'll never forget my Dad spending the weekend at our house when I was a kid in order to help my stepdad lay down new flooring. They spent hours trading stories about the crazy things my mom had said and done and compared marriage notes as they laughed like crazy.

My mom, while happy to have her new floor, was not amused by their camraderie. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Leah. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Thanks for stopping by, David. I'm just glad the tree survived.. and thrived. :)

• Thank you, Photowannabe. You're right about the joy of watching the kidlets and trees grow. I'll save you some plums! :)

• Thanks for such kind words, Dianne. Funny how it's an equal compliment for a painting to look like a photograph, and a photo to look like a painting. I'll take that! :)

• Thanks so much, Jo. Those words mean a lot to me coming from you. And the Don-Frank barbershop made me laugh. :)

• Ack, Crabby.. a crab-eating flower! Thanks. ;)

• Thanks, Christopha.. much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, EWBL. Well they didn't exactly do the work together, but they do see each other most every Friday when Don comes by to pick our son up for the weekend. And they share those knowing looks and chuckles all the time. I'd admit to how maddening it is, but they both read the blog and I wouldn't want to fuel their fire. ;)

Of course, I'm totally grateful that they get along just fine, and that Don and I have remained good friends.

I'd love to hear about those stories of yours sometime though..

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Russell said...

Love the images! My favorites are the ones with the raindrops and the last one with the bee. Really nice.

Looks like spring has arrived to your part of the world.

Have a great Mother's Day and know that we enjoy your posts very much.

Take care.

Reb said...

Lovely, just lovely! You are getting better with the camera, I must agree. (It gives me hope) Love the Willow tree and the dock.

Happy mother's day.

Anonymous said...

Your camera was such a "wise" gift last year, wonder how he will top that next month. I especially love the bee on the blossom, his face is amazing. Happy Mothers' Day, Aunt Hil (from Jaime & Steph), and Happy Mothers' Day to all moms.

Kappa no He said...

Happy Mother's Day! How do you make yourself go home from your walks? Everything is so amazing.

Shammickite said...

Lovely! You have fruit trees in blossom already.... mine are not ready yet, I'm a little further north than you. I agree with Frank's comment, your pictures are really showing some extraordinary talent@ Congratulations.
And I had a big giggle at Elasticwaistbandlady's comment!

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much for your kind words, Russell. :)

• Thank you, Reb. We're both discovering how much fun our respective cameras can be, eh? :)

• Thanks, Andi. We'll have to just wait and see, I suppose. ;) Thanks for the Mother's Day wishes from my beautiful nieces, and I hope you have a great one yourself, Andi. :)

• Thanks, Kappa. I have to change the batteries some time. ;)

• Thanks Ex-S. No doubt your trees will be in bloom soon too. Thanks for your kind words and yup, EWBL always cracks me up. :)

Anonymous said...

What a great story of pruning that we can also apply to our lives. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful!
Great close up shots...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's like a photo bouquet of flora for Mother's Day. Thanks!

Happy Mother's Day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary,

Thank you for visiting my blog. I have enjoyed looking at yours. You have some lovely photos! I'll be back.

david mcmahon said...

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, Hilary.

God bless

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

a beautiful, thoughtful way of celebrating your motherhood .........and love the way you have framed the first weeping willow shot. and i think your nameless pink blooms are just what i posted last week on my blog. am sure you had a beautiful mother's day :)

Maggie May said...

Just love your photos! I get in a pickle putting in just one or two, but i guess that's because I'm a grannie. I feel quite pleased I've mastered one photo, so one day I will shock everyone by producing many!
Thanks for visiting my little humble blog! (I mistakenly typed in bog but altered it fast!)

Cath said...

Wow Hilary that last shot with the bee is fantastic! I got a cracking shot of a bee in flight but I don't think it is as good as that. Isn't macro great?

Love the weeping willow, the raindrops on the leaves, that daffodil! Wow - looks like fabric.

These are really truly beautiful. What an artist you are.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Bach. Your visits and comments are always appreciated. :)

• What a nice way to put it, Jenn. Thank you. I hope yours was a great one. :)

• Thanks, Carla. I'll look forward to your visits.. and to revisiting yours. :)

• I did indeed, David. Thanks. And thanks also for your shout out.. much appreciated. :)

• Thanks so much, Moi. I believe you're right about the blooms which I think are crab apple blossoms. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for your kind words, Maggie May. I have trouble "pruning" my photos down to just the few that I post each time.. I just can't seem to stop clicking. :) I look forward to seeing more of your shots. Thanks for stopping by.

• Thanks so much, Cath. You're an ego-booster for sure. I'd love to see the image of your bee in flight. I can't imagine being able to capture such a shot myself... but that doesn't mean I won't try. ;)

Kat said...

You photos are always outstanding! Thank you for sharing them. I love the water on the fuzzy leaves. Wow! Just gorgeous!
Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Hilary said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Kathryn. :)