They stand in clumps; they stand alone.
They flaunt themselves beside the Interstate; they lurk in the underbrush on distant hills.
They flower as full trees; they flower as bushes; they flower as single twigs stuck in the ground.
They clearly grow best in full sun; they obviously grow best in the shade.
In a 30-mile-or-so-square around Winchester VA, they grow *everywhere*. And they just happened to be at the peak of their blooming as we drove by last week.
There’s a poem in here somewhere, but a collage is faster. Here’s a summary of 1/100th of what we saw, just from the Interstate.
And here’s the thing: We were not in Oklahoma. So what, you ask. So this, I respond: The redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma. Methinks they should have more redbud than Virginia, which is hard to imagine.
And here’s the other thing: They grow in hardiness zones 4 through 9. Where’s that, you ask. Everywhere in America, I respond.
And here’s the last thing: They’re Canadian. Yes, the American Redbud is actually Cercis canadensis. In Canada, they’re native only to Pelee Island (our southernmost point, roughly the same latitude as Northern California), but they grow elsewhere with some care, and you can buy one from these helpful folks.
What? Are you still here? Don’t let the Americans have all the fun. Get out and plant your very own redbud today.
Hmmm. A little like rhododendrons in Ireland.
Mary – Yes, as I was writing about them it occurred to me (for the first time) that they might be (considered?) an invasive species. I wonder whether anyone has mapped their spread on one of those nifty sort-of-animated chronologies. I guess the difference for redbud (vice rhododendrons) is that it was not introduced to this continent by Victorians, as I understand they introduced rhodies to Scotland and Ireland.
Esp. in Canada (eventually) when they sing against the brown of Spring.
Barbara – Yes, particularly on a sunny day they are spectacular in the largely bare woods, or against the dark-green of conifers.
The warm brown of all the twiglets in April.
Barbara – 🙂 Now that sounds like the start of a poem.
Being on the 22nd floor we can see the canopy of the large woods just beyond the Aviation Parkway. In fall they look like coloured broccoli, after ice storms like white mist, and in the warm-up to spring, their tops are more feathery every day as the sap rises and buds begin sprout.
From up here, there is never anything but a beautiful day.
Barbara – It sounds lovely. Being an artist, you see things that I might (would) miss, at least with my eyes. In words, I get it. 🙂
Whatever their origin, they obviously give us a glorious blaze of colour. Thanks for sharing the marvel.
Judith – 🙂 Yes, they’re a lovely harbinger of all the colours yet to come.
Glorious. I never saw such a display as yours during our year in Virginia, but I will never forget my first glimpse of a redbud, a sapling alone in the woods in the Missouri Ozarks. I painted a picture of it as soon as I got home.
Laurna – I know! It seems wrong, doesn’t it, that this so-called Canadian tree has so little presence in Canada? But I’m glad it has a presence somewhere.
You couldn’t have timed your drive better….
Jim R – I know, right? I assume they were at their peak – it’s hard to imagine there being More. 🙂 The trick, of course, is that the “best time” varies every year with the specific advent of Spring. Which makes me appreciate our good luck even more.
I love the collage!
Tom – 🙂 Thanks!
Isabel – great pics! Wonder what redbuds would do to my seasonal allergies? They would be another species that it is unlikely I would have ever encountered in springtime.
With blossoms like those it is hard to believe that there were several Civil War battles in and around Winchester. There were also Civil War battles just up the road in the Chambersburg area and so on up the Shenandoah River Valley.
John – Many thanks. Let’s not test your sensitivity to blooming redbuds, OK? There are so many… As for the Civil War battlefields all along our route — as you know, some are marked and some are not. It’s odd to think of the countryside (now farmed or lightly forested or heavily developed) as the scene of those often-horrendous battles. Adding history to a landscape requires both some knowledge and some work of the imagination, but seems well worth it to me.