April Showers… April Flowers

The saying goes “April showers bring May flowers” and that might be true in some areas, and here in NH most people think that is true. But to my eyes, spring is blooming all around us now, in mid April. Our little Sanbornton farm has so many species of plants growing on just our 14 acres that although I have started a list a few times, I have yet to finish it. This year I want to keep a record of what blooms when, because it is important to plan when and where we plant, put bees, and stop tapping for maple sap, amongst other things.

This morning alone I counted three species of trees in bloom. I mentioned before that the pussy willows are budding out, and today I saw that one had gone into full catkins. Yesterday during a walk in the pasture, I showed my eldest daughter alder catkins and how to tap them against her fingers to see the grainy white pollen they are busy spreading in the April breezes. The aspens are in full bloom, something you can tell by the trees acquiring a fuzzy gray appearance to their crown.

Tree flowers are usually inconspicuous, but they are an important part of the spring awakening. Insects harvest nectar and pollen from them, and Dad’s bees will cover a red maple in full bloom with a cloud of happy buzzing as there isn’t much else for them to find this early. Even wind pollinators like the willow and alders serve as a source of the protein-rich pollen for his honeybees.

List of Blooms: