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Independence County and Spring

March 29, 2016

Spring is popping out all over. My car was covered in yellow when I got into it today. Another cool morning, but it warmed up. I drove to Batesville today to do MG training for Independence, Fulton, Izard, and Sharp counties. They did not make a class last year, so only needed 10 participants this year, and they had 17! A great, eager group of new volunteers with a lot of questions. Today was their graduation day. When I got there, Sherrie Smith was finishing up. mg training independence county (2)

mg training independence county (3) I presented annuals & perennials and shrubs. I also got a great home-cooked meal by the local volunteers. mg training independence county (1) After their test at the end of the day they had a beautiful cake awaiting them. mg training independence county (5) After we ate, the local MGs and I went outside to review their landscape project around the county office. It has come a long way in a short while and looks outstanding. independence county office. mar16 (1)

independence county office. mar16 (8)

independence county office. mar16 (6)

independence county office. mar16 (3)

independence county office. mar16 (2) They have done a great job pruning their crape myrtles which is more than I can say for some in my neighborhood. craper myrtles.pruned.mar16 (1)

craper myrtles.pruned.mar16 (2)

crape murder mar.1601

crape murder mar.1602

After lunch I finished up my talks and then headed home. Trees are leafing out everywhere and there are still redbuds in bloom along with dogwoods and flowering cherry. spring mar (1)

spring mar (2) I saw one of the largest royal paulownia trees (empress trees) in bloom on my drive back, and Julie will be proud that I pulled over to take the pictures! royal paulownia.mar (1)

royal paulownia.mar (2) While this tree is spectacular in full bloom, it is a somewhat weak-wooded tree and often reseeds in odd places, like small flower beds and gutters.

Some trees don’t have the showy blooms of dogwoods and redbuds. The yellow we are seeing now on our cars is of course pollen from trees. Many trees have separate male and female flowers and produce their non-showy blooms on catkins. A few of the more familiar species that produce catkins are ashes (Fraxinus), birches (Betula), elms (Ulmus), oaks (Quercus), willows (Salix), and cottonwoods (Populus), The male flowers are called catkins and are the long finger shaped flowers which are loaded with pollen. catkins (1)

catkins (2) The male catkin can produce more than 1 million pollen grains, and large trees produce several thousand catkins–so that is a lot of yellow pollen. The wind can carry pollen grains great distances and can contribute to our allergies. My oaks are just barely beginning to leaf out so the allergy season is just getting started, but it has been a glorious spring!

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