Friday, April 24, 2015

Pink April Showers

Our redbud tree is beginning its annual explosion of tiny sweet pea-like flowers. How cunningly they clamber up and down the woody trunk and branches. It seems impossible to have old wood perform like that.
I pick the clusters to toss in salads or, better, decorate puddings and desserts. This native American tree is an important legume, a nitrogen fixing plant valuable to old woods as well as gardeners. Penn's Sylvania abounds with these shocking magenta/pink flowers in spring.
I have one tree, a seedling rescued from a house being built, which edges our patio and is best viewed, in bloom, from our bedroom window.
A thrilling sight now while its glory builds to a crescendo. I gather the much curved branches for graceful bouquets. Often the flowers dry on the twig, then reserved for later use in a wreath. When the tree fades and breezes scatter showers of fragile pink florets, I spread old sheets under the tree to claim my rightful harvest, a rich colorful bonanza for potpourris. A tree herb? Who dares dispute the many uses of redbud beyond its beauty?
Of all the months that fill the year,
Give April's month to me,
For earth and sky are then so filled
With sweet variety.
~Letitia E. Landon


Please Note: Today's blog post is an excerpt from Bertha Reppert's TwelveMonth Herbal written long before blogs were the norm. Although the Redbud tree of which she speaks is at the old family homestead, these photos are taken of the Redbud planted in front of the tea room. It is beginning its explosion of spring color, and will eventually transition to pretty heart shaped leaves. Alas, the tree is on a main roadway in the borough, so we do not harvest the tiny edible sweet pea-like blossoms.


Angela McRae said...

I don't have a redbud tree, but my Dad does, and I had no idea the little flowers were edible! It truly is a beautiful tree when it's in bloom.

Marilyn Miller said...

It's funny, but until one of our tea friends (MJ) mentioned redbuds I don't think I had heard of them or seen one. I was curious to find one nearby. Not sure they grow here in Oregon, but when we were in California in March they were in many places including Yosemite. They were just gorgeous and now I can imagine how you would enjoy them.