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a flower bud

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Remember about a month ago, I showed you my son's sprouting bean plant.


Well, now it looks like this:


Wow, right?

Each week, I see more leaves unfurling from tiny buds.


But last week, we noticed a different sort of bud.


Two days later, it looked like this.


Whoa, that's not a leaf!

Sure enough, the next day, there appeared...


A flower!

S was so excited, he jumped out of bed in the morning when I told him his plant had a flower. There are now three more flower buds on the plant ready to open.

All this has gotten me thinking about the buds on my tree.


They're gonna be flowers!

I think.

what the...?

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Is this the weirdest looking plant you have ever seen, or what?


It looks like a plant with dinosaur plates along its back. It looks like a bug pretending to be a plant. It looks like it's covered with wooden razor blades.


How do those things even stand up all along the branches?

Plants are weird.

snow on april fool's day

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The trees are not amused.


Not this tree with its little green leaves just starting to arrive.


And not my tree with its tiny purple seeds peeking out.


And definitely not these flowers.


Not funny, Mother Nature.

saying goodbye

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My kids and I stopped by the Olmsted site yesterday to see the Olmsted Elm one last time before they took it down. (See my post from yesterday for more information on the tree.) We were instructed to stay at least 20 feet away from the trunk for our safety.


The boys wanted to show me some of the things they'd seen on their field trip here last year. Lovely winding rock paths to the tree and through a flower garden (no flowers yet).


And then we took one last look.


This afternoon, it looked like this:


Just a stump left. A very big one.


Bye, bye old elm tree. Now you can only see it on the sign.


olmsted elm

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Recent articles in the Boston Globe and our local Brookline Tab have reported that a historic elm tree will soon be cut down on the grounds of the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic site.


The tree is estimated to be 200 years old, but has been struggling with Dutch Elm disease for a long time. In the past few months, it has become clear that the tree is in decline and could be a danger to the house or visitors. So it will be cut down on Wednesday. The National Park Service website says that a clone of the tree will be grown and planted in its place when it is large enough. The Olmsted Elm has its own Facebook page. And there's an info page on the tree's history and significance to the site. (For example, in County Essex in England, where the Olmsted family originated, the name "Olmsted" is a variation of "Elmsted," meaning "place of the elms," therefore the elm was a special tree for Olmsted.)

Frederick Law Olmsted is considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, designing New York City's Central Park along with the Emerald Necklace here in Boston. His home was here in Brookline and is a popular destination for school field trips. In fact, my twin boys went on a series of field trips in 3rd grade during a unit on Boston history which included Fenway park, the Freedom Trail, a local beach and the Olmsted site. And guess which one was their favorite. You just can't top nature at its finest!


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Back at the branch...

There's not much change to report. Here's how the buds looked on Saturday.


And here's how the same bud cluster looked this morning.


Hmmmm. It's been mighty cold 'round here, so I guess these buds are waiting until spring returns to send out any more purple stuff.

Elsewhere... I walked by some trees that I'd snapped some pictures of a couple of weeks ago. Back then, I took a tiny twig I'd found from a baby tree and was examining its structure.


Well, this morning, it's fellow twiggies still on the tree look like this.




cool things on twigs

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Here's a little tree I walk past every day as I walk my boys to school.


It was planted last year after the tree that used to be here was finally removed (it hadn't been growing new leaves for a couple of years). The tree is just so darn cute! And it's short enough that I can reach up and grab hold of a twig to get closer look. So I did just that. After about 5 minutes of observing and taking the following pictures, the owner of the house next to the tree called out the window: "Hey, Alison, what'cha doin' out there?" Oops, busted.


It was so worth it though. Just look at those fabulous oval peachy red buds! Beneath each of the buds is a little scar from where the leaf from the last season fell off. And that's where the new bud grows. Talk about healing! If you look at the bottom of that tiny stem the three little buds are on, you can see some gray ridges. My teacher tells me that that's where the growth from the previous season ended. It's a scar made from the new bud pushing out of the tip there. (I noticed a bud on my tree the other day that had me asking this very question!) If we look down the length of the twig to find the next set of gray rings, we can see how far this twig grew last year.


I think this gray bump above this sentence might be it. Wow. I don't even know what kind of tree this is, but it seems to me that that's pretty good growth for such a little tree.

Now let's look at an amazing twig I found on the ground at the kids' school. This twig was so long and so green, I had to take some pictures of it. And it had the coolest buds! They're sort of fuzzy. I'm a sucker for fuzzy buds!


And, lookie, it has those growth scars as well.


One more twig to investigate before we return home. This one caught my eye because the very tips of the buds looked like they might be green. Leaves, maybe???


I've got a lot of questions about these types of buds. Is that a leaf? And if it is, is the whole leaf in there all folded and wrapped up already? And how does that brown part of the bud get wrapped around it like a screw? I love that there is something so perfectly wrapped and shaped like that in nature.

Anyhoo, the twig...


I see one area on the left twig there that looks like the rings of a terminal bud scar. But what really intrigued me about this twig were all the little white dots. My twig has white dots that I really notice only when it rains. The other twigs above all have them too in varying amounts. You know what I think? I think those are lenticels, which help the twig breathe. How cool is that?!

For more information on things that are on twigs check out this diagram.

is there a tree doctor in the house?

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After reading Someday a Tree yesterday, I started thinking about poor little Bud, the tree in front of our house with the horrible scar from an old dead branch that broke off. Looking at this picture again, it looks like that dead branch was causing some sort of decay in the main trunk.


And just this week, I noticed that there is a similarly nasty wound near the bottom of the trunk.


Blag. (That's what my kids say when something is disgusting. Like vegetables.) I wonder if these two are related? What could have happened here?

The next tree down the street has a small hole in it at about the same height, but you can see that there's none of this decay there. It looks to have grown more bark around the hole and healed.


Or maybe this one is starting to have the same problem that Bud has or had. I hope not, because I'm worried about Bud.

tree sprouts

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After watching S's little bean sprout over the last weeks, I've started wondering how my tree buds will sprout. I've been thinking of them as spots where new leaves will just pop out. But is that what happens at the buds? If that's so then when do the branches ever grow longer? Is it possible that new branches will shoot out from the buds, with new leaves off of them? Perhaps the new shoots would even push the bud out along the end, like S's bean sprout keeps part of the bean up at the top.

My tree isn't telling me, so I went searching around the neighborhood for some signs of new growth on other trees and I found some interesting things.


The narrow little branch coming off after the cluster of buds is a lighter, redder color than the rest of the twig. Did that just grow in the last few weeks? It looks really new and young. It's so colorful and smooth. Are those little buds that are all clustered together also growing farther and farther away from that older looking part of the twig?


Here's another photo of a different twig on the same tree. You can really see how much lighter and redder this part is. And again there's two other little buds right there where the color changes. It's just as if the twig was growing from that point that is now in the middle.

And here's another little tiny twig I found on a small tree near the one above. The house behind these trees recently burned down and many branches were broken off as the firefighters were battling the blaze. I felt like it would be okay to snap off a tiny twig from the baby tree as it was almost completely severed from it tiny little trunk.


Look at how green the end of the twig is! The bottom part looks like a normal grayish twig, then there are some of those knuckles I noticed on a twig from my tree a couple of weeks ago and then it gets greener and greener, and then there's the bud. It really reminds me of that sprout of S's!

Is this going to happen on my tree? Nothing on my tree looks like really new growth. All the twigs are gray and bark-y looking, with the tips being slightly smoother and whiter. These newer parts don't have as many scars on them from old buds, but they don't look like they just grew this year. Hmmmmm..... Are all those buds on my tree's twigs going to sprout? That's a lot of buds. Is that why my tree seems to have these explosions of new branches?


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Apparently, a watched tree never sprouts. Despite my hyper-vigilance, I can detect no sprouting currently going on in my tree. (Frowny face) But there is some sprouting going on in the house! My son, S, is doing a little science experiment. He helped out in my science class (the one I'm writing this blog for) and got to plant a seed and bring it home. He said his seed looks just like "a Mexican jumping bean" and he couldn't wait to see if it would grow. After a week, we spotted this.


Yay! That's the little bean in the center with this stiff, curved sprout coming out of it. A few days later, and....


Lookie, it's growing! It seems like it's trying to stand up from having been curved. And is that a leaf on top??


One more day, and it's all straight straight. And now that we can see the top thing clearly, it looks like it's actually part of the bean. How odd! Is the whole thing growing down from that part? Or is it growing up and taking that part with it. For what? Food?


A couple more days and it just keeps getting taller and greener. We can't wait to see what will happen next. S's big question is: will it jump?

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the other trees category.

oak is the previous category.

questions is the next category.

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