Saturday, April 2, 2011

Changing of the Seasons at Japan House - April 1, 2011

A new month has arrived at Japan House Pond and with it signs that spring is well underway. The grove across the water is bursting with color, particularly the orange and red flowers of the maples that form a backdrop to the grey-white hawthorns along the shore. My wife and I started our walk around the pond as blue skies slowly gave way to storm clouds that gathered around the setting sun. A steady breeze rippled the water on the pond, alternately cool and refreshing as the warm sun dodged the clouds.

The landscaping around Japan House is usually pristine, necessary to maintain the formal style characteristic of Japanese gardens. It's not often you see a branch or stick out of place. Even the piles of recently pruned branches were neatly stacked, awaiting removal.

A plague of grackles gathered in the tops of the towering maples. Their evening cacophony drowned out our conversation as we walked beneath their gathering.

The blackhaw viburnum (V. prunifolium) along the edge of the grove has broken bud. The suede-like coverings have opened to reveal flowers that appear as small cauliflower heads.

The hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) has joined the first act of spring as well. Its leaf buds have started to unfurl, with reddish tips quickly fading to a bright spring green.

As we were ready to leave Japan House Pound, the storm clouds began to coalesce to the southwest. A few miles in the distance, we could see falling curtains of rain. The remaining sunlight shimmered on the water's surface as the details of the trees faded into silhouette, signalling the end of another day at Japan House Pond.

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