These were the blossoms on the Western Redbud a few months ago, before the leaves appeared.
This is what it looks like now.
Western (or California) Redbud
Usually a shrub 7 to 18 feet high.
Leaves are round and heart shaped, winter deciduous
Bright purple flowers appear in early spring on naked branches, followed by bronze colored leaves that soon turn green.
Seed pods appear in July.
Grows below 4,000 feet.
Drought tolerant and sun-loving.
Native Americans highly prized this shrub and used its autumn wine-red branches for basket-making.
I am hoping to have this redbud as part of my lovely front yard for many, many season to come.
I have long wanted a redbud in my yard and when we did our front yard remodel we left a space for one in the front section. I planted poppies around the base and this spring I got to discover how beautifully they work together in my yard. I need to remember that you are to prune it in the fall, winter, or early spring after the leaf drop.
Funny how we all have had our favorite spring Outdoor Hour Challenges. For me? This dogwood study has been about two years in the making. I have always wanted to have a dogwood tree in our front yard but it wasn’t until we did our massive front yard remodel that I was able to find a dedicated spot for the dogwood tree. We choose one with white blossoms…my favorite.
We waited last year for it to flower but we only had leaves. This year….ta da! A dozen or so creamy white blossoms to enjoy and now study.
We read in the Handbook of Nature Study about how the flowers have been waiting inside the bracts all winter long, protected and sheltered until conditions were right. I have spent the last month or so going out almost daily to check the branches for any signs of opening. What a gift once we saw the bracts changing!
See the notched bract? This is another thing discussed in the Handbook of Nature Study that I would have never noticed if it wasn’t pointed out to me.
I had to convince Mr. B that the true flowers are the ones at the center and not the big white bracts. We counted the flowers and found there were 25+, some open and some closed.
The Handbook of Nature Study said that this was a perfect lesson to use a hand lens for so we brought ours out and took a deeper look. Amazing! If you haven’t yet done your dogwood study, I highly recommend this activity. You might note it in your ebook to do for next year as well if your dogwoods are no longer blooming.
How fun is this? Don’t the leaves look like a bird? I was busy standing on top of my retaining wall to take photos of the dogwood and looking down on the leaves….it truly looked like a bird!
Now for a few fun images from our evening study. Here is a colorful view of our front yard right now….hubby brought me home a new garden flag for the front stairs. I love it! We did have a swallowtail in the yard a few days ago so it won’t be long now until butterfly time! The Kona dog is taking a rest from helping us weed and water.
I don’t think I shared my new addition to the rock garden. We took a new hike up into the mountains and into an area where you can collect rocks, a true rockhounds paradise. We brought home this big piece of serpentine which is the California State Rock. Isn’t an amazing shade of green? Our rock garden has become its own little micro-habitat with insects and critters living around and under the rocks. In the evenings there is a very loud cricket chorus in our yard. It is a comforting sound and I stand on the deck and listen in the dark and imagine where they all are as they sing.
What a wonderful study! It all started back when we decided to remodel the front yard a few years ago and we put on paper our list of plants and trees we hoped to include. The dogwood came two years ago and this past week we added a California redbud. I am looking forward to seeing it grow and mature…maybe next year it will bloom for us.