Bare Branches


March in Michigan is as much about bare branches as November in Michigan.  This makes me sympathetic to any local gardener who thinks that bare branches are a synonym for dead branches.  No wonder people in my zone so value evergreens.  I am really tired of looking at them; this is March 25th for pete’s sake.  Every day, it is still winter.  This is part of why I am so interested in espaliers as landscape plants-they look great in that leafless stage.  The past few rainy days have been accompanied by temperatures near freezing.  Every branch is glazed with ice. 

This morning it was very sunny and cold; the bare branches were glittering.  Rain drops froze before they dripped off the branches-what I would not give for this look at the holidays.  Weather has a way to drawing attention to the color, structure and overall shape of those bare branches. In addition to their leaves, flowers and possibly fruit, woody plants have beautiful bones. Actually, most woody plants in their leafless stage are still beautiful.   

I do not grow forsythia in my garden.  I have only planted it on very large properties with room to spare.  The only truly beautiful planting of forsythia I have ever seen is the Forsythia Dell at Dunbarton Oaks.  Should you be there at the right time, it is spectacular.  But the forsythia across the street from me were very good looking today.  You can tell they are about to burst into bloom; the cinnamon color of the stems is glowing.  Covered in ice, it looked good enough to eat. 


Lindens have a robust overall shape, but the branches are weepy, drapy, and languid. Interesting this, for a tree that has a round overall shape. The bare branches have a jewel like appearance today. Not that I wouldn’t prefer to be smelling the flowers right now, but this is all I have available.  

Crabapple branches are hunky and gnarly; the color is a bright red brown. The sun and ice brought all of that to life.  It is incredible to think that in a few short weeks this branch will be floating in a pale pink tutu.   


I moved all of the potted bulbs inside yesterday-the frosting of ice and all.  It was 19 degrees last night-17 is forecast for tonight.  24 hours these pots have been in the garage-they are still icy. How is your spring coming along?

Comments

  1. It is still winter in Vermont. The days are cold, barely reaching freezing, and the wind brisk. Snow has melted in exposed areas but in sheltered spots it is deep. Small tulip and Narcissus shoots are shivering where the ground is bare. They need a bit of warmth to get them going. It is the snowiest, coldest winter I have known in sixteen years here. On a positive note I have seen Red Wing Blackbirds and the occasional flocks of Canada Geese returning. They are in for a shock.

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Suzanne, we have had 2 feet more than normal here this winter-but I am sure it is nothing like what you are experiencing. I hope you see spring really soon. Deborah

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